If your cells don’t get enough glucose, your body burns fat for energy instead. This produces a substance called ketones, which can show up in your blood and urine. High ketone levels in urine may indicate diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a complication of diabetes that can lead to a coma or even death.
What does it mean when your body is producing ketones?
Ketosis is a process that happens when your body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to burn for energy. Instead, it burns fat and makes things called ketones, which it can use for fuel. Ketosis is a word you’ll probably see when you’re looking for information on diabetes or weight loss.
How do you get rid of ketones?
If you detect ketones in your blood or urine, general treatment guidelines include drinking plenty of water or other calorie-free fluids to help flush ketones out of the body, taking insulin to bring your blood glucose level down, and rechecking both your blood glucose level and ketone level every three to four hours.
What causes a buildup of ketones in the blood?
Normally, insulin helps sugar enter your cells. Without enough insulin, your body can’t use sugar properly for energy. This prompts the release of hormones that break down fat as fuel, which produces acids known as ketones. Excess ketones build up in the blood and eventually “spill over” into the urine.
What happens if you have too many ketones in your body?
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.
Does drinking water reduce ketones?
Drinking more water
Many people suggest that drinking more water may help reduce a person’s keto breath. This is because the body expels more ketones in urine rather than as a breath. By drinking water, people will produce more urine, which will help expel many of the ketones from the body.
How high is too high for ketones?
What do my results mean?
|normal/negative||less than 0.6 millimoles per liter (mmol/L)|
|low to moderate||0.6 to 1.5 mmol/L|
|high||1.6 to 3.0 mmol/L|
|very high||greater than 3.0 mmol/L|
Can you have ketones without having diabetes?
People without diabetes can also have ketones in the urine if their body is using fat for fuel instead of glucose. This can happen with chronic vomiting, extreme exercise, low-carbohydrate diets, or eating disorders.
What do I do if my ketones are high?
Talk to your doctor immediately if your urine results show moderate or large amounts of ketones. This is a sign that your diabetes is out of control, or that you are getting sick. If you are unable to reach your diabetes care team, head for the emergency room or an urgent care facility.
Can stress cause ketones?
Results: Our main finding was that social stress markedly increased concentrations of serum β-hydroxybutyrate by 454% in normal weight men. The increase in ketone bodies during stress in normal weight subjects was associated with an increase in ACTH, norepinephrine and epinephrine concentrations.
How can I lower my ketones quickly?
You can also try these steps to bring down your ketone levels:
- Drink extra water to flush them out of your body.
- Test your blood sugar every 3 to 4 hours.
- Don’t exercise if you have high blood sugar and high ketones.
What are the symptoms of ketones in urine?
Symptoms of ketone build up include:
- Regular urination.
- Heavy breathing.
- Dilated pupils.
- Mental confusion (rare)
- Breath may also smell of fruit.
What are the long term effects of ketoacidosis?
“DKA also has long-term consequences,” Rewers says. “It changes brain development and brain functioning for a long time. Kids who had DKA can show memory and learning problems going on for several years.”