When people with diabetes – type 1 or 2 – are under a great deal of stress or illness, extra energy is needed to help combat the situation and sugar cannot be utilized due to the lack of insulin. The body turns to fat as an energy source, and a toxic byproduct of fat breakdown called ketones is formed. Ketones circulate in the system as acids and change the PH of the blood; this can be a life threatening complication of diabetes called DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis).

When blood sugars are over 240mg/dl during times of illness, infection, or severe stress, you should test for ketones. In addition to these conditions listed above, this could also happen to people who miss their insulin doses, have a malfunctioning insulin pump, have used expired or improperly stored insulin, as well as in pregnancy with diabetes.

Ketone testing through urinalysis has been available for over thirty years, with blood ketone testing being a more recent and approved technology.

Here are a few reasons to test for ketones:

  1. Blood testing is more convenient than urine testing.
  2. Urine testing can be inaccurate due to volume and concentration of the urine.
  3. Urine testing strips that are exposed to air or have been opened in a bottle for 90 days can be inaccurate (foil wrapped strips last longer).
  4. Excess Vitamin C or ascorbic acid in the system can give a false positive for ketones due to the acid content on urine strips.
  5. At home blood ketone testing can result in lower emergency room costs, hospitalizations, and help prevent DKA.
  6. Blood ketone testing can test for a type of ketone that cannot be detected in urine which could lead to a false negative in the urine test.
  7. Ketones are detectable in the blood faster than in the urine.

NOTE: Consult your doctor first to make sure my recommendations fit your special health needs.