Urine Ketone Test – An alternative to the blood ketone test to monitor levels of ketones, a type of fuel created when the liver breaks down fat for energy. In people with diabetes, ketone production can accelerate, leading to a build-up of these organic compounds in the blood and urine, called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
Diabetic ketoacidosis is dangerous and can lead to coma or even death if not treated right away. That is why it is important for people with diabetes to understand how to test for ketones, including how to choose and use ketone test strips and how to interpret the results.
What Causes CAD?
If you have diabetes, there are three circumstances in which you can develop large amounts of ketones :
- Lack of insulin : This can happen if you inject too little extra insulin, or if you have a disease that increases the amount of insulin your body needs.
- Inadequate food intake: Skipping meals or not eating enough due to poor appetite can put you at risk for developing CAD.
- Insulin glucose (low blood sugar) : You may have an insulin reaction while you sleep, which can cause high ketone levels in the morning.
Who should get tested for ketones?
A person with type 1 diabetes is more likely to develop CAD, but a person with type 2 diabetes may be at risk if they have uncontrolled blood sugar, missed medication doses, or a serious illness or infection.
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), there are a number of conditions under which people with diabetes should be tested for ketones (in addition to the specific instructions given by their healthcare provider or healthcare provider):
- When the blood glucose level exceeds 240 mg / dL
- In response to symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
- During periods of illness, such as a cold or the flu.
- With constant fatigue
- In response to intense thirst or a very dry mouth
- When the skin looks red
- When it's hard to breathe
- When your mouth smells like fruit
- In response to feelings of confusion or "in the fog"
The urine ketone self test is generally considered less accurate than the blood ketone test, but when performed carefully it can provide reliable results that can be used to determine if further steps are needed.
Choosing Ketone Test Strips
There are many brands of urine ketone test strips available without a prescription at pharmacies, supermarkets, and other stores that sell medical supplies. Ketostix is a common brand. Ketone urine test strips are also available by prescription.
The best way to choose urine ketone test strips is to ask your doctor for a recommendation or prescription. In 2019, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the purchase and use of discounted second-hand test strips from online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, or Craigslist.
The FDA also cautions against buying or using strips not approved for sale in the United States (hint: instructions are in a language other than English).
According to the FDA, these substandard strips can give inaccurate results: "If a user receives an inaccurate result from a test strip and uses that result as a basis for their treatment, they may be taking too much or not enough medication, which could potentially have serious consequences. injury to the patient, including death. "
How to use ketone test strips
Regardless of the brand name strips you buy, it is important to read the product insert in detail to see if the instructions for use differ from the generic ones below . If so, follow these exact instructions.
Test strip saturation
There are two ways to soak a test strip in urine. One is to simply keep the test strip in the urine stream until it becomes saturated.
Another is to collect a sample of the 'net catch'. To do this, wash your hands and clean the genital area: if you are a man, clean the tip of your penis with a disposable cleaning cloth. If you are a woman, open your lips and wipe them from front to back.
While urinating in the toilet, keep the collection container in the urine stream until it is an ounce or two. The cup will likely have markings indicating the amount. After you have finished writing and washed your hands, dip the test strip into the cup so that it is completely soaked.
interpretation of results
If the test strip changes to a color other than the original beige, there are ketones in the urine. Compare the color of the strip to the color chart that came with the test kit; This will give you a range for the amount of ketones in your urine.
If you seem to have a small or trace amount of ketones in your blood, this could indicate that ketones are starting to build up. In this case, the ADA recommends retesting the urine after a few hours .
If your results show that you have moderate or large amounts of ketones in your urine, take it as a danger sign and call your doctor immediately.
The ADA also recommends keeping a scorecard that you can share with your PCP or healthcare provider, who can use this information to make changes to your diabetes management plan as needed.
A urine ketone test is not as accurate as a blood test. Results may vary, for example, depending on how dilute the urine is. However, if you prefer this testing method, there are a few steps you can take to get the most reliable results possible.
- Always check the expiration date on the test kit. Expired kits can give false results.
- Store the test strips with the cap tightly closed. Moisture or prolonged exposure to air can cause the strips to malfunction.
- Try early in the morning or after dinner. Research has shown that this is the most reliable time of day for urinalysis .
- If you have a hard time distinguishing colors, ask a friend or family member to help you interpret the test results.