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Tests for Ketones - Topic Overview

A ketone test checks for ketones in your blood or urine. Ketones are substances that are made when the body breaks down fat for energy. Normally, your body gets the energy it needs from glucose (sugar). If your body cannot use glucose for energy—for example, if your body doesn't make or use insulin—ketones are formed. You might also have ketones if you are not eating enough carbohydrates and your body uses fat for energy instead. Your body wants to get rid of ketones through urine.

Ketones are most common in people who have type 1 diabetes. It is an early sign that there is not enough insulin, and blood sugar may be dangerously high. This can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis, a very serious medical problem.

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Blood ketones can be tested using some blood sugar meters. You can test your urine for ketones by using specially prepared tablets or plastic strips.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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