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What Are Ketones In A Diabetic

Five Things To Know About Ketones

Five Things To Know About Ketones

If you live with diabetes, you have probably heard that ketones are something to watch out for. That they have something to do with the dreaded diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). But do you really understand what ketones are and why they happen? It’s scary to think about, sure. But it’s also very important to be in the know about ketones and to be prepared. 1) What are ketones? If there isn’t enough insulin in your system, you can’t turn glucose into energy. So your body starts breaking down body fat. Ketones are a chemical by-product of this process. This can occur when people with type 1 diabetes don’t take insulin for long periods of time, when insulin pumps fail to deliver insulin and the wearer does not monitor blood glucose, or during serious illness (in type 1 or type 2) when insulin doses are missed or not increased appropriately for the stress of illness. Ketones can happen to anyone with diabetes, but the condition is more common in people with type 1. 2) Why are ketones dangerous? Ketones upset the chemical balance of your blood and, if left untreated, can poison the body. Your body cannot tolerate large amounts of ketones and will try to get rid of them through the urine. Eventually they build up in the blood. The presence of ketones could be a sign that you are experiencing, or will soon develop, diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)—a life-threatening medical emergency. 3) When should I test for ketones, and how? There are several situations in which it is a good idea to check for ketones, usually every four to six hours. Talk to your doctor to know what makes the most sense for you and your diabetes management plan. Your blood glucose is more than 300 mg/dl (or a level recommended by your doctor) You feel nauseated, are vomiting or have abdominal pain You are Continue reading >>

Pep Talk - Ketones

Pep Talk - Ketones

Illness can cause blood glucose levels to rise and lead to ketoacidosis. In order to prevent this from happening, there are important things that need to be done: Monitor blood glucose and ketone levels every four hours. Take the usual diabetes medication. If unable to eat, contact the health care team for instructions on the dose to take. Drink at least one glass of fluid every hour. If the glucose level is high, drink sugar-free liquids; if low, drink sugar based liquids. The liquids help wash out the ketones and prevent dehydration. Extra doses of rapid-acting insulin (by shot even if using an insulin pump) will be needed every two hours until the high ketones are gone. If vomiting or unable to keep fluids down, or if ketones are large or high and extra doses of rapid-acting insulin has not helped, contact your physician or go to the nearest Emergency Care Center. Remember DKA is to be treated as an emergency situation, and the best resource is always your own health care team. To ensure the PEP Talk e-newsletter lands in your inbox, become a DRInsider and subscribe today. We want to hear from YOU! Let us know what topics you are concerned about so we can address it in a future PEP Talk newsletter. Email us . SOURCES: DRIs Education Team; the First Book of Understanding Diabetes by H. Peter Chase, M.D. and David M. Maahs, MD, PhD; and Healthline. (2015) Keep up with our progress toward a cure & more Continue reading >>

Ketone Testing: What You Need To Know

Ketone Testing: What You Need To Know

What are ketones? Ketones are produced when the body burns fat for energy or fuel. They are also produced when you lose weight or if there is not enough insulin to help your body use sugar for energy. Without enough insulin, glucose builds up in the blood. Since the body is unable to use glucose for energy, it breaks down fat instead. When this occurs, ketones form in the blood and spill into the urine. These ketones can make you very sick. How can I test for ketones? You can test to see if your body is making any ketones by doing a simple urine test. There are several products available for ketone testing and they can be purchased, without a prescription, at your pharmacy. The test result can be negative, or show small, moderate, or large quantities of ketones. When should I test for ketones? Anytime your blood glucose is over 250 mg/dl for two tests in a row. When you are ill. Often illness, infections, or injuries will cause sudden high blood glucose and this is an especially important time to check for ketones. When you are planning to exercise and the blood glucose is over 250 mg/dl. If you are pregnant, you should test for ketones each morning before breakfast and any time the blood glucose is over 250 mg/dl. If ketones are positive, what does this mean? There are situations when you might have ketones without the blood glucose being too high. Positive ketones are not a problem when blood glucose levels are within range and you are trying to lose weight. It is a problem if blood glucose levels are high and left untreated. Untreated high blood glucose with positive ketones can lead to a life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). What should I do if the ketone test is positive? Call your diabetes educator or physician, as you may need additional Continue reading >>

What Are Ketones, And Why Are They Important To Diabetes Self-management?

What Are Ketones, And Why Are They Important To Diabetes Self-management?

All blood tests are tools. Some are to diagnose diabetes, some are to help you manage your diabetes on a daily or long term basis and some are to keep you safe. People with diabetes are told about blood testing and how important testing is to manage their blood glucose. It is a critical part of diabetes management. Whether it is done in the physician’s office or the patient’s home it is an invaluable tool, Unfortunately a very important test, ketone testing is often not taught or taught only to people with type 1 diabetes. This test can be life saving and should be part of every person with diabetes knowledge and skills. It is simple and if you have diabetes you should know about it. What Are Ketones? When the body is unable to burn glucose it burns fat and this produces a chemical called ketones. This occurs when there is too little insulin for the amount of glucose in the body. Possible causes for this could be: Experiencing stress or illness such as fever, Having an infection. Omitting or taking too little insulin Eating more food than planned Improper storage of insulin If left untreated, ketones continue to rise and can result in a condition called Diabetic Ketoacidosis, or DKA. This condition is quite serious and requires immediate medical attention. DKA is the most common cause of hospitalization and death among children and young adults with diabetes, and the leading cause of adverse events for insulin pump users. Why Measure Blood Ketones? Studies suggest that most, if not all emergency department and hospital admissions beyond initial diabetes diagnosis could be prevented if people better managed their diabetes care and knew the warning signs when ketoacidosis was developing. Blood ketone testing provides a rapid, accurate, and early warning sign that keto Continue reading >>

Blood Ketones

Blood Ketones

On This Site Tests: Urine Ketones (see Urinalysis - The Chemical Exam); Blood Gases; Glucose Tests Elsewhere On The Web Ask a Laboratory Scientist Your questions will be answered by a laboratory scientist as part of a voluntary service provided by one of our partners, the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS). Click on the Contact a Scientist button below to be re-directed to the ASCLS site to complete a request form. If your question relates to this web site and not to a specific lab test, please submit it via our Contact Us page instead. Thank you. Continue reading >>

Ketones

Ketones

Excess ketones are dangerous for someone with diabetes... Low insulin, combined with relatively normal glucagon and epinephrine levels, causes fat to be released from fat cells, which then turns into ketones. Excess formation of ketones is dangerous and is a medical emergency In a person without diabetes, ketone production is the body’s normal adaptation to starvation. Blood sugar levels never get too high, because the production is regulated by just the right balance of insulin, glucagon and other hormones. However, in an individual with diabetes, dangerous and life-threatening levels of ketones can develop. What are ketones and why do I need to know about them? Ketones and ketoacids are alternative fuels for the body that are made when glucose is in short supply. They are made in the liver from the breakdown of fats. Ketones are formed when there is not enough sugar or glucose to supply the body’s fuel needs. This occurs overnight, and during dieting or fasting. During these periods, insulin levels are low, but glucagon and epinephrine levels are relatively normal. This combination of low insulin, and relatively normal glucagon and epinephrine levels causes fat to be released from the fat cells. The fats travel through the blood circulation to reach the liver where they are processed into ketone units. The ketone units then circulate back into the blood stream and are picked up by the muscle and other tissues to fuel your body’s metabolism. In a person without diabetes, ketone production is the body’s normal adaptation to starvation. Blood sugar levels never get too high, because the production is regulated by just the right balance of insulin, glucagon and other hormones. However, in an individual with diabetes, dangerous and life-threatening levels of ketone Continue reading >>

Diabetes And Ketones

Diabetes And Ketones

Tweet The presence of high levels of ketones in the bloodstream is a common complication of diabetes, which if left untreated can lead to ketoacidosis. Ketones build up when there is insufficient insulin to help fuel the body’s cells. High levels of ketones are therefore more common in people with type 1 diabetes or people with advanced type 2 diabetes. If you are suffering from high levels of ketones and seeking medical advice, contact your GP or diabetes healthcare team as soon as possible. What are ketones? Ketones are an acid remaining when the body burns its own fat. When the body has insufficient insulin, it cannot get glucose from the blood into the body's cells to use as energy and will instead begin to burn fat. The liver converts fatty acids into ketones which are then released into the bloodstream for use as energy. It is normal to have a low level of ketones as ketones will be produced whenever body fat is burned. In people that are insulin dependent, such as people with type 1 diabetes, however, high levels of ketones in the blood can result from taking too little insulin and this can lead to a particularly dangerous condition known as ketoacidosis. How do I test for ketones? Ketone testing can be carried out at home. The most accurate way of testing for ketones is to use a blood glucose meter which can test for ketones as well as blood glucose levels. You can also test urine for ketone levels, however, the testing of urine means that the level you get is representative of your ketone levels up to a few hours ago. Read about testing for ketones and how to interpret the results Who needs to be aware of ketones? The following people with diabetes should be aware of ketones and the symptoms of ketoacidosis: Anyone dependent on insulin – such as all people Continue reading >>

Ketones: Clearing Up The Confusion

Ketones: Clearing Up The Confusion

Ketones, ketosis, ketoacidosis, DKA…these are words that you’ve probably heard at one point or another, and you might be wondering what they mean and if you need to worry about them at all, especially if you have diabetes. This week, we’ll explore the mysterious world of ketones, including if and how they may affect you. Ketones — what are they? Ketones are a type of acid that the body can form if there’s not enough carbohydrate to be burned for energy (yes, you do need carbs for fuel). Without enough carb, the body turns to another energy source: fat. Ketones are made in the liver from fat breakdown. This is called ketogenesis. People who don’t have diabetes can form ketones. This might occur if a person does extreme exercise, has an eating disorder, is fasting (not eating), or is following a low-carbohydrate diet. This is called ketosis and it’s a normal response to starvation. In a person who has diabetes, ketones form for the same reason (not enough carb for energy), but this often occurs because there isn’t enough insulin available to help move carb (in the form of glucose) from the bloodstream to the cells to be used for energy. Again, the body scrambles to find an alternate fuel source in the form of fat. You might be thinking that it’s a good thing to burn fat for fuel. However, for someone who has diabetes, ketosis can quickly become dangerous if it occurs due to a continued lack of insulin (the presence of ketones along with “normal” blood sugar levels is not necessarily a cause for concern). In the absence of insulin (which can occur if someone doesn’t take their insulin or perhaps uses an insulin pump and the pump has a malfunction, for example), fat cells continue to release fat into the circulation; the liver then continues to churn Continue reading >>

What To Do If You Have Ketones

What To Do If You Have Ketones

I woke up pretty late today, around 11am. I really didn’t feel like getting up at all because I was still really tired. I was woken up by a ringing house phone that I ignored, then a cell phone with my husband on the other end. Then my mom coming downstairs to get the laundry and reminding me that we were going out today. (I live in my parents basement apartment.) “Ok, Ok… I am getting up” I tell her. I took in a big yawn and stretch of the arms. Then I actually got up out of my bed. I felt weird but I just thought it was because I got out of the bed too quickly. I tried to lick my lips together, but I had no saliva in my mouth - it was like the Mojave desert in there. I went to the bathroom to wash up because now my mom was getting antsy and rushing me. Don’t you just love getting up like that? Anyway, I started to feel a bit nauseated after about 20 minutes. I know these symptoms all too well. Dry mouth, Nausea = High blood sugar or Ketones. So, I checked my blood sugar. 3 2 1 334. Oh boy. Ok, umm… how did this happen? I didn’t really eat anything high carb last night? I went to bed with a pretty decent number and I just changed my infusion set. I don’t feel sick. My pump site isn’t hurting. It really boggled my mind. I felt my heart race a bit and started feeling panicky, and my breathing was getting heavier. Can you say panic attack? I always get a little paranoid though, it’s just my thing. Anyway, I told myself “Ok, Gina just calm down, you know what to do.” So I did my thing. I went back into the bathroom and grabbed my Ketostix to check my urine for Ketones. This is something I do when I have an unexpected high blood sugar with nausea. My urine test came out with Large, the highest level. Ugh. Ketones on the back of the bottle start out w Continue reading >>

Ketones — The 6 Must-knows

Ketones — The 6 Must-knows

WRITTEN BY: Kyla Schmieg, BSN, RN Editor’s Note: Kyla Schmieg (BSN, RN) is a practicing pediatric endocrinology nurse in Cincinnati, OH, USA, and Type 1 Diabetic, working on the same unit she was diagnosed at 26 years ago. 1 – What are ketones? Ketones are chemicals that build up when your body starts to burn fat for energy. The most common cause of ketones in diabetics is insulin deficiency. Without enough insulin, glucose builds up in the blood stream and can’t enter cells. The cells then burn fat instead of glucose. This results in ketones forming in the blood and eventually spilling into urine. 2 – Why can ketones be dangerous? Having ketones can indicate that your body needs more insulin. (Always monitor your blood sugar levels to know how much insulin you need.) If you have a build up of ketones, this can lead to Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA). Signs of DKA include moderate or large ketones, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fruity or acetone (think nail polish remover) breath, rapid breathing, flushed skin, and lack of energy. If left untreated, it can lead to a serious and life-threatening diabetic coma or death. High levels of ketones are toxic to the body and if you’re experiencing these, you should seek out medical attention. 3 – When should you check for ketones? You should be checked anytime your blood sugar is above 240 mg/dl (13.3 mmol/l) or any time you are sick. This includes any minor illness such as a cold. 4 – Can you get ketones with a high blood sugar? Ketones typically accompany high blood sugar. They indicate that your body needs more insulin. Most often if your body needs more insulin, it means you probably have a high blood sugar. Also, when an illness is present, your body releases hormones in response to the stress. These hormones Continue reading >>

What Are Ketones?

What Are Ketones?

What are ketones and what causes them? Ketones are the result of the body burning fat for energy or fuel. For a person with diabetes, ketones are often the result of prolonged high blood sugar and insulin deficiency. Without the right amount of insulin, glucose starts to build up in the blood stream and doesn't enter the cells. The cells burn fat instead of glucose, and ketones form in the blood and spill into the urine. Some causes of high blood sugar are: Missing an insulin dose or skipping some oral medications. A disconnected or blocked insulin pump tube. Being sick with the flu. High levels of stress. Eating more carbohydrates than your medication covers. What are the signs that I should test for ketones? Symptoms of high blood sugar include frequent urination, frequent thirst, blurry vision, dry mouth, vomiting, and fatigue. There are several scenarios that should prompt a test for ketones. If your blood sugar is over 240 mg/dl for two tests in a row. When you are ill. When your blood sugar is over 240 mg/dl and you are planning on exercising. If you are pregnant, you should test for ketones each morning before breakfast and whenever blood sugars are elevated. How do I test for ketones? There are two ways to test for ketones - by testing your urine or your blood. Ketones appear first in the blood stream and are later present in the urine, so testing your blood for ketones is the best way to check for an early problem. To check urine for ketones, you must collect a urine sample or dip a ketone test strip into a fresh stream of urine. After waiting for the time suggested by the ketone strip manufacturer, you compare the color strip to the chart on the bottle. The darker the color, the higher the amount of ketones in the urine. At this time, there are just a few mete Continue reading >>

Urine Tests For Diabetes: Glucose Levels And Ketones

Urine Tests For Diabetes: Glucose Levels And Ketones

The human body primarily runs on glucose. When your body is low on glucose, or if you have diabetes and don’t have enough insulin to help your cells absorb the glucose, your body starts breaking down fats for energy. Ketones (chemically known as ketone bodies) are byproducts of the breakdown of fatty acids. The breakdown of fat for fuel and the creation of ketones is a normal process for everyone. In a person without diabetes, insulin, glucagon, and other hormones prevent ketone levels in the blood from getting too high. However, people with diabetes are at risk for ketone buildup in their blood. If left untreated, people with type 1 diabetes are at risk for developing a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). While rare, it’s possible for people with type 2 diabetes to experience DKA in certain circumstances as well. If you have diabetes, you need to be especially aware of the symptoms that having too many ketones in your body can cause. These include: If you don’t get treatment, the symptoms can progress to: a fruity breath odor stomach pain trouble breathing You should always seek immediate medical attention if your ketone levels are high. Testing your blood or urine to measure your ketone levels can all be done at home. At-home testing kits are available for both types of tests, although urine testing continues to be more common. Urine tests are available without a prescription at most drugstores, or you can buy them online. You should test your urine or blood for ketones when any of the following occurs: Your blood sugar is higher than 240 mg/dL. You feel sick or nauseated, regardless of your blood sugar reading. To perform a urine test, you urinate into a clean container and dip the test strip into the urine. For a child who isn’t potty-trained, a pa Continue reading >>

When To Worry About Ketones

When To Worry About Ketones

“Your blood sugar is over 250. We’ll have to test for ketones, just to make sure you’re not spilling any.” The nurse stuck a label featuring my name and date of birth onto a plastic cup. “The bathroom is down the hall and to the right,” she said. By now, I was familiar with the drill, having experienced it a handful of times in the past: Provide urine sample to endocrinologist and keep my fingers crossed that it’s negative. Fortunately, it was—no ketones spilled. Though we often toss the word ketones around when we talk about diabetes, there tends to be confusion about what ketones are and when they’re dangerous. What are ketones? Ketone bodies are produced by the liver and are byproducts of fat metabolism. They occur when muscles in the body (which normally uses glucose as fuel) begin to use fat instead. This can happen when a person restricts carbohydrates (i.e., following a ketogenic diet—see below), eats too little, or feels ill. Simply put, ketones are markers of fat burning in the body. People with diabetes need to be concerned about ketones, though, because they can be a sign of a life-threatening condition. The presence of ketones makes the blood acidic and can result in an illness known as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which occurs when blood sugar levels are very high. DKA can be caused by not getting enough insulin, and it may occur prior to a diagnosis of type one diabetes. DKA symptoms of concern include a dry mouth, blood sugar levels greater than 240 mg/dL, strong thirst, and frequent urination. Without treatment, these symptoms can worsen into confusion, extreme fatigue, flushed skin, fruity-smelling breath, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and difficulty breathing. The most serious effects include swelling in the brain, loss of conscio Continue reading >>

How To Treat Ketoacidosis

How To Treat Ketoacidosis

Fri, 11/19/2010 - 14:57 -- Richard Morris Immediately drink a large amount of non-caloric or low caloric fluid. Continue to drink 8 to 12 oz. every 30 minutes. Diluted Gatorade, water with Nu-Salt and similar fluids are good because they help restore potassium lost because of high blood sugars. Take larger-than-normal correction boluses every 3 hours until the blood sugar is below 200 mg/dl (11 mmol) and ketones are negative. It will take much more rapid insulin than normal to bring blood sugars down when ketones are present in the urine or blood. Often, one and a half to two times the normal insulin dose for a high blood sugar will be necessary. Higher insulin doses than these will be needed if there is an infection or other major stress. If nausea becomes severe or last 4 hours or more, call your physician. If vomiting starts or you can no longer drink fluids, have a friend or family member call your physician immediately, then go directly to an emergency room for treatment. Never omit your insulin, even if you cannot eat. A reduced insulin dose might be needed, but only if your blood sugar is currently low. When high blood sugars or ketoacidosis happen, it is critical that you drink lots of fluid to prevent dehydration. Take extra amounts of Humalog, Novolog or Regular insulin to bring the blood sugars down. Children with severe ketoacidosis lose 10-15 % of their previous body weight (i.e., a 60 lb. child can lose 6 to 9 lbs. of weight) due to severe dehydration. Replacement of fluids should be monitored carefully. The dehydration is caused by excess urination due to high blood sugars and is quickly worsened when vomiting starts due to the ketoacidosis. The start of vomiting requires immediate attention at an ER or hospital where IV fluid replacement can begin. If o Continue reading >>

What Are Ketones And Their Tests?

What Are Ketones And Their Tests?

A ketone test can warn you of a serious diabetes complication called diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA. An elevated level of this substance in your blood can mean you have very high blood sugar. Too many ketones can trigger DKA, which is a medical emergency. Regular tests you take at home can spot when your ketone levels run too high. Then you can take insulin to lower your blood sugar level or get other treatments to prevent complications. What Exactly Are Ketones? Everyone has them, whether you have diabetes or not. Ketones are chemicals made in your liver. You produce them when you don't have enough of the hormone insulin in your body to turn sugar (or “glucose”) into energy. You need another source, so your body uses fat instead. Your liver turns this fat into ketones, a type of acid, and sends them into your bloodstream. Your muscles and other tissues can then use them for fuel. For a person without diabetes, this process doesn’t become an issue. But when you have diabetes, things can run out of control and you build up too many ketones in your blood. If the level goes too high, it can become life-threatening. Who Needs a Ketone Test? You might need one if you have type 1 diabetes. In this type, your immune system attacks and destroys cells in your pancreas that make insulin. Without it, your blood sugar rises. People with type 2 diabetes can also get high ketones, but it isn't as common as it is with type 1. Tests can show you when your level gets high so you can treat it before you get sick. When Should You Test? Your doctor will probably tell you to test your ketones when: Your blood sugar is higher than 250 milligrams/deciliter (mg/dl) for two days in a row You're sick or you've been injured You want to exercise and your blood sugar level is over 250 mg/dl Continue reading >>

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