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The human body typically uses carbohydrates in the person's diet, however, when blood sugar gets lower body fat is broken down and produces a substance called ketones. A ketone test identifies the level of this chemical in the blood stream and is typically performed in conjunction with blood glucose monitoring. Ketone tests are an essential component of the management of diabetes and can help assess the effectiveness of glucose utilization.
Why perform a Ketone Test?
Ketone tests are recommended for persons with diabetes if the person experiences symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain. If blood glucose levels are high and ketones are present as well, this can indicate a life threatening condition.
How is a Ketone Test Performed?
Both blood and urine testing exist for ketone testing. Many blood glucose monitors are being designed to include this as a normal part of the testing process. Test strips and tablets are also available for urine testing. Currently, blood testing is preferable to urine testing for the presence of ketones as the results tend to be more accurate.
Who Should Monitor Ketones?
According to the American Diabetes Association, a ketone test should be performed if the individual has diabetes and is pregnant, sick, or exhibits symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia). Blood glucose levels over 300mg/dL absolutely signal the need for a ketone test.
All individuals afflicted with diabetes should regularly monitor blood sugar and ketone levels. Any significant changes should be reported to a physician immediately as they may pose a significant health risk.