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 >>
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 >>
Ketoacidosis: A Diabetes Complication
Ketoacidosis can affect both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes patients. It's a possible short-term complication of diabetes, one caused by hyperglycemia—and one that can be avoided. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state (HHS) are two of the most serious complications of diabetes. These hyperglycemic emergencies continue to be important causes of mortality among persons with diabetes in spite of all of the advances in understanding diabetes. The annual incidence rate of DKA estimated from population-based studies ranges from 4.8 to 8 episodes per 1,000 patients with diabetes. Unfortunately, in the US, incidents of hospitalization due to DKA have increased. Currently, 4% to 9% of all hospital discharge summaries among patients with diabetes include DKA. The incidence of HHS is more difficult to determine because of lack of population studies but it is still high at around 15%. The prognosis of both conditions is substantially worsened at the extremes of age, and in the presence of coma and hypertension. Why and How Does Ketoacidosis Occur? The pathogenesis of DKA is more understood than HHS but both relate to the basic underlying reduction in the net effective action of circulating insulin coupled with a concomitant elevation of counter regulatory hormones such as glucagons, catecholamines, cortisol, and growth hormone. These hormonal alterations in both DKA and HHS lead to increased hepatic and renal glucose production and impaired use of glucose in peripheral tissues, which results in hyperglycemia and parallel changes in osmolality in extracellular space. This same combination also leads to release of free fatty acids into the circulation from adipose tissue and to unrestrained hepatic fatty acid oxidation to ketone bodies. Some drugs ca Continue reading >>
Optimal Ketone And Blood Sugar Levels For Ketosis
A low carb helps reduce blood sugars and insulin levels and helps with the management of many of the diseases of modern civilisation (e.g. diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s). We become insulin resistant when our body fat can’t store any more energy. Excess energy is then stored in the liver, pancreas, heart, brain and other organs that are more insulin sensitive. We also see increased levels of energy in our blood in the form of glucose, fat and elevated ketone. Endogenous ketosis occurs when we eat less food than we need. Our insulin and blood sugar levels decrease and ketones rise to supply the energy we need. Exogenous ketosis occurs when we eat lots fat and/or take exogenous ketones. Blood ketones rise, but our insulin levels will also rise because we have an excess of energy coming from our diet. Most of the good things associated with ketosis occur due to endogenous ketosis. Most people following a ketogenic diet over the long term have ketone values lower than what some people consider to be “optimal ketosis”. If your goal is blood sugar control, longevity or weight loss then endogenous ketosis with lower blood sugars and lower ketones is likely a better place to be than chasing higher blood ketones. I have seen a lot of interest and confusion recently from people following a ketogenic about ideal ketone and blood sugar levels. In an effort to try to clear this up, this article reviews blood ketone (BHB), breath ketone (acetone) and blood sugar data from a large number of people who are following a low carb or ketogenic diet to understand what “normal” and “optimal” look like. Many people initiate a low carb diet to manage their blood glucose levels, insulin resistance or diabetes. As shown in the chart below, Continue reading >>
High Blood Sugar Emergencies
Blood sugar levels that are too high (hyperglycemia) can quickly turn into a diabetic emergency without quick and appropriate treatment. The best way to avoid dangerously high blood sugar levels is to self-test to stay in tune with your body, and to stay attuned to the symptoms and risk factors for hyperglycemia. Extremely high blood sugar levels can lead to one of two conditions—diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome (HHNS; also called hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic coma). Although both syndromes can occur in either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, DKA is more common in type 1, and HHNS is more common in type 2. Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) Ketoacidosis (or DKA) occurs when blood sugars become elevated (over 249 mg/dl, or 13.9 mmol/l) over a period of time and the body begins to burn fat for energy, resulting in ketone bodies in the blood or urine (a phenomenon called ketosis). A variety of factors can cause hyperglycemia (high blood glucose), including failure to take medication or insulin, stress, dietary changes without medication adjustments, eating disorders, and illness or injury. This last cause is important, because if illness brings on DKA, it may slip by unnoticed, since its symptoms can mimic the flu (aches, vomiting, etc.). In fact, people with type 1 diabetes are often seeking help for the flu-like symptoms of DKA when they first receive their diagnosis. Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis may include: fruity (acetone) breath nausea and/or vomiting abdominal pain dry, warm skin confusion fatigue breathing problems excessive thirst frequent urination in extreme cases, loss of consciousness DKA is a medical emergency, and requires prompt and immediate treatment. A simple over-the-counter urine dipstick test (e.g., Keto Continue reading >>
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 >>
Ketones And Low Blood Sugar....
Ketones are totally normal in the human body. It's just when you get too many of them it gets dangerous. I have the same meter and usually test around .1 or .2 and it's fine. Read the instructions for your strips. I think it says you're in ketosis at .8 and above. Trust me, real ketosis will make you feel really sick and usually it comes with a blood sugar of 300 and above. You go into ketosis when you have little or no insulin. Happens when you forget your Lantus/Levemir or when your pump malfunctions. In case you are type 2, ketosis normally shouldn't be of concern anyway. Thank you for finding the brochure. I am printing it as we speak and I will keep it with my meter and my other important papers. For some strange reason I seem to have lost the instructions with my strips. In the beginning when I was first diagnosed I had a blood sugar of 450 (25) and I really did not feel well at all. Now quite a number of years later I was curious to see if a person registers ketones when your blood sugar is low. Then when I realized that maybe it also had something to do with low carbing - I was both concerned and curious. There are 2 ketone-related conditions, one (mostly) good and one bad. Ketoacidosis is the bad one, caused by insufficient insulin and ultra-high blood sugar spikes. Ketosis is the good one, caused by low-carb diet and exercise. Ketosis promotes weight loss. I'm glad to know I'm not doing something harmful. My GP has never explained these things to me. I need all the help I can get to lose a little weight btw - Shalynne - could you remove post #4 as I don't think there should be two of the same post - not sure what happened because for just a moment my computer screen froze, then I had to reboot. Continue reading >>
Caution: Don’t Get Caught With Ketones
Ketoacidosis is an extremely serious diabetic complication that can lead to coma and even death. Unfortunately it is also fairly common. The good news, however, is that with proper care and an eye towards prevention, this costly and dangerous complication can be avoided. What Is Ketoacidosis? When there isn't enough insulin present for the metabolism of glucose, or when insufficient food has been eaten to satisfy energy requirements, the body burns fat for energy. Ketones are toxic, acidic byproducts of this process. Ketones are normally processed by the kidneys and excreted in the urine. But when more ketones are produced than the kidneys can handle, they can build up in the blood and lead to a dangerous condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Ketoacidosis raises the acidity of the body, which leads to "a cascade of problems throwing off a number a parameters in the body," says Cindy Onufer, RN, MA, CDE, the diabetes research and clinical care coordinator at Oregon Health Sciences University. Ketoacidosis rarely occurs in people with type 2 diabetes, who usually do not suffer from insufficiency of insulin, but is of great concern to those with type 1 diabetes. In fact, ketoacidosis is the number one cause of hospitalization for children with known diabetes in the United States. However, these hospitalizations are completely preventable if a urine ketone test is done and a care provider is called when indicated, says H. Peter Chase, MD, with the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes in Denver, Colorado. Timely testing and prevention are of utmost importance as the condition can cause coma and death if proper treatment is not administered quickly. Higher ketone levels are a warning sign that your diabetes is out of control or that you may be in danger of ke Continue reading >>
4: Fasting For Keto-adaptation, High Blood Ketones, Elevated And Low Blood Sugar, No Weight Loss, Slowing Fat Metabolism
Veteran health podcaster, blogger, international speaker, and bestselling author Jimmy Moore from “Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb” teams up with Toronto, Ontario Canada-based nephrologist Dr. Jason Fung from IntensiveDietaryManagement.com and Dr. Fung’s Clinical Director at his Intensive Dietary Management Program clinic Megan Ramos on this podcast dedicated to answering YOUR questions about intermittent, alternate day, and extended fasting. Jimmy and Dr. Fung are the coauthors of the 2016 international bestseller The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting and, along with Megan, are happy to provide this podcast as an additional resource for anyone curious about going on a fast to improve their health. We love hearing from our listeners with new questions–send an email to Jimmy at [email protected] And if you’re not already subscribed to the podcast on iTunes, then you can do that and leave a review HERE. Listen in today as Jimmy and Megan answer your questions about all things fasting in Episode 4. FREE N=1 TRACKING TOOL AT HEADS UP HEALTH – Whether you should fast when you are sick HOT TOPIC: Can you use fasting as a way to get keto-adapted faster? Can you get keto-adapted faster with fasting? And why do you get angry on the second day of fasting? What do you do about that? Mary KEY QUOTE: “We tell patients not to stop their fast on the third day because that’s usually the hardest, but once you are keto-adapted, you can fast for as many days as you want, usually without implication, so on the third day of my fast I don’t experience any third day hump.”- Megan Ramos 1. Can blood ketones go too high while you are fasting? Hey guys, I’m 71 years old with a low BMI and no medical or h Continue reading >>
Confused...having A Hypo With High Ketones!!!
Diabetes Forum The Global Diabetes Community Find support, ask questions and share your experiences. Join the community Confused...having a hypo with high ketones!!! This morning I checked my BS levels (fasting) as usual and they were 2.7...I also have a blood ketones monitor that I test every other morning just to make sure that my ketone levels are normal. Now, this morning during my hypo I thought I would test my ketone levels and they were reading at 3.1!!!! Of course, I was very shocked as I am in hypo mode and not feeling particularly unwell, just the usual hypo symptoms, which I have now treated. I am so confused as I associate high ketone levels with having high BS levels. Can anyone explain to me how this has happened. In my 10 years of having T1 I have never had high ketone levels like this before. Should I be worried? What do I need to do? Thanks for your help. M x Ketones are a by-product created when there is not enough glucose to fuel the body's needs, so the body burns it's fat reserves to create energy. Generally, this can happen when there is either: not enough insulin in the body to convert the glucose into energy (with high BG readings) when there is not enough glucose for the insulin to convert to energy (with low BG readings). Both of these conditions have the effect of preventing glucose being used as fuel for the body and, as a result, both can give rise to higher ketone levels. I'm at a loss to explain that I admit but I am not totally convinced by mrburden's explanation either unless you are low carbing? . If not your low BG state is (since you are T1) most likely a high insulin state and a high insulin state clears ketones and suppresses ketosis. If however you are low carbing then mrburden is completely correct, and also in that case your 0.3 Continue reading >>
Ketones And Children With Type 1 Diabetes – What’s Important?
What are ketones and when do you check for them in children with type one diabetes? This is a common question I get! I think when children are diagnosed, this a frequent part of the education that is easily forgotten or misunderstood due to the overwhelming amount of information being taught. So let’s look at why we would check ketones, how to check them, what the colors on the strips mean, and what to do if ketones are present. Why Check Ketones: When someone with type 1 diabetes does not not get enough insulin, their blood sugar levels rise, so the body is forced to use fat for energy. When fat is used for energy for an extended period of time, ketones develop. Ketones are a waste product of fat. If someone with type 1 diabetes does not get enough insulin, diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) can develop. The length of time it takes and how high one’s blood sugar are varies, however DKA can occur in a few hours. Symptoms of DKA: high blood sugars ketones in blood and urine nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain confusion lethargy (tired, sluggish, weak) difficulty breathing unconsciousness DKA is a very serious and life threatening situation. Speak with your health care providers to determine how you are to treat ketones and when you are to go to the emergency room. When to check ketones: Your doctor can tell you exactly, but usually when your blood sugars are over 250, especially if the blood sugar is not responding to insulin and remaining high after the second blood sugar check. Always check ketones when your child is sick, even if blood sugar numbers are not high. Anytime your child has nausea and vomiting, check ketones. How to check ketones: Ketones can be checked by using ketone urine strips. To check ketones, urinate on a strip, or collect urine and dip stick into ur Continue reading >>
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 >>
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 >>
Large Ketones - Low Blood Sugar!??
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 >>