You usually compare the color of the test strip or urine to a chart to find out if ketones are present.
You may have ketones if
- Have poorly controlled diabetes or
- Are on a very
low-carbohydrate or high-fat diet.
starving or have an eating disorder, including disorders that result in poor
nutrition such as
anorexia nervosa or
bulimia, alcoholism, or poisoning from drinking
rubbing alcohol (isopropanol).
- Have not eaten (fasted) for 18 hours
- Are pregnant. Some women have low levels of ketones during pregnancy and this does not affect the fetus. But a moderate or high amount of ketones in a
pregnant woman may harm the fetus and may be an indication of gestational
The level of ketones, and not just the presence of
ketones, may be important to your doctor as well. Many conditions can change
ketone levels. Fasting usually causes only mild increases in the level. But
ketone levels in diabetic ketoacidosis are much higher. Your doctor will discuss any significant abnormal results with you in relation
to your symptoms and past health.
What Affects the Test
Reasons you may not be able to
have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
- Taking medicines, such as:
- Levodopa, such as Sinemet or Larodopa.
such as Depakote, Depacon, or Depakene.
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid),
when taken in large amounts.
- Waiting a long time after collecting the urine to test it.
What To Think About
Your doctor may recommend you test for ketones if you have
diabetes and you have any of the following conditions:
- You have a blood sugar level that stays higher than the level the doctor has set for you, for example, 300 mg/dL (16.7
mmol/L) for two or more readings.
- You are pregnant.
- You are sick or
feeling very stressed.
- You have
symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis.
Other Works Consulted
Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2013). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 6th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.
Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009).
Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed.
Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.