Urine test for ketones

People with diabetes, including women with gestational diabetes, who produce too little insulin in their bodies burn fat for energy when insulin is not present. Burning fat instead of sugar for energy releases ketones into the bloodstream and into the urine. Ketones in the urine may signal diabetic ketoacidosis, a dangerous condition that is caused by the buildup of ketones and very high blood sugar levels.

You can test your urine for ketones at home using specially prepared tablets or plastic strips.

  • Collect a urine sample in a clean container.
  • Follow the manufacturer's directions on the bottle of test strips or tablets.
  • If either the test strip or the urine changes color when the tablet is dropped into the sample, ketones are present in your urine sample. The test results are read as negative to 1+ to 4+ or small to large. If the results of your ketone test show that the ketone level in your urine is more than 1+ or is moderate to high, call your doctor for advice.

Last Updated: July 22, 2009

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