Ketones In Urine: Everything You Need to Know

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test tubes of urine samples

Ketones are present in everybody. It is actually a chemical that you can find in your liver. These chemicals are made when there is a lack of insulin in your body. When this happens, your liver develops fats into ketones and send these to your blood, which your tissues and muscles can use for energy.

The chemical is not dangerous but it can be life-threatening when you have diabetes. Why? Those who have diabetes tend to develop too many ketones in their blood and can eventually risk your life.

The chemical in your urine

Not only are ketones present in your bloodstream as you can find these in your urine as well. With this, those who want to check if they are at risk of having high ketones decide to undergo urine tests.

The purpose of the ketone urine test is to help you monitor if you have a tendency to get high ketones. This test will also help you determine if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. In the event that you do have diabetes, it means that you are not getting enough insulin in your body.

But if you do not have diabetes, the following are the possible conditions that you may have:

  • Pregnant
  • Eating disorder
  • Doing a low-carbohydrate diet
  • Does strenuous exercise
  • Digestive disorder
  • Diarrhea

In addition, the doctor may recommend that you undergo a ketone test if you have the following symptoms:

  • Extremely sleepy
  • Having troubles breathing
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain

What you need to know before taking the test

Since the test will check the ketones in your urine, expect that you will need to give the clinic a sample of your urine. Here is a step-by-step procedure of the said test.

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly.
  2. Clean your genital area. You can use a cleansing pad if you want to. If you are a male, be sure to wipe the tip of your penis properly. For women, open your labia then clean everything from the front to back.
  3. When everything is cleaned, start urinating in the toilet.
  4. Place the bottle or container where your urine will be following.
  5. Stop urinating when you reach the markings of the container. Then, return the container to the professional in charge.

If you are not comfortable doing the test at the lab, you have the option to do it at home. All you need to do is follow the steps required. The test kit will also have instructions in case you do not know what to do. In case you prefer to do it at home, you will notice that the test kit will have strips instead of containers.

There are also cases wherein the doctor will require you to fast before you take the test. But you need to consult with your doctor first as the instruction may vary.

Once you are done with the test, take note that there are 4 main results: normal, slightly high, moderately high, and very high. These refer to the number of ketones that your body has. Also, remember that the result will vary depending on your activities and diet.

  • If you get an amount of less than 0.6, it means that your ketone level is normal.
  • If you get an amount between 0.6 and 1.0, it means that your ketone level is slightly high.
  • If you get an amount between 1.0 and 3.0, it means that your ketone level is moderately high
  • If you get an amount higher than 3.0, it means that your ketone level is very high.

It is important that you track the levels in a journal. This way, you will be able to determine if you are improving or not.

Another important thing that you should know is that you cannot take the test anytime you feel like it. Most of the time, the doctor will require you to take the test when you are pregnant, sick, injured, and has a blood sugar level higher than 250 mg/dl within 2 days.

What you should do

In the worst cases, you can have a high ketone level. When this happens, you should increase your insulin levels. The doctor might require you to head to the emergency room. But when you are at home, you can do the following:

  • Avoid exercising
  • Check your blood sugar. You need to do this every 3 to 4 hours.
  • Drink load of water. This will push away the excess ketones in your body.

You can also ask your doctor different ways to help you lower down your ketone level.


A ketone test can help you determine if you have diabetes or other health complications like diabetic ketoacidosis. There are actually two types of tests available: urine and blood. In this article, we explained how the ketone urine test works. All you need to do is provide a sample of your urine and submit it to the laboratory or you can take a test at home using the test kit.

Either way, you need to make sure that the doctor-approved your test before taking it. There can be times as well when the doctor would require you to fast before undergoing the test. The test will not take too long. Simply follow the instructions provided and wait for the result.

The results will range from normal to very high. Take note that there are corresponding ketone amounts for each level. Tracking your result is essential in knowing the progress of your body. It will also help you in determining if you are improving or not.

Once you get a very high result, immediately head to your doctor. He or she might advise you to go to the emergency room and get a shot of insulin. Other ways to lower down your ketone levels are drinking water, checking your blood sugar, and refraining from exercising.

If you feel that you have symptoms that are bothering you, do not hesitate to go to your doctor. It is always better to take the ketone test as early as possible to prepare for the cure.

facts about ketone level in urine

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