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What are ketones?

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Ketones are chemicals your liver makes. You produce them when you don't have enough insulin in your body to turn sugar (or glucose) into energy. You need another source, so your body uses fat instead. Your liver turns this fat into ketones, a type of acid, and sends them into your bloodstream. Your muscles and other tissues can then use them for fuel. If you don't have diabetes, this process doesn’t become an issue. But if you do have diabetes, you can build up too many ketones in your blood -- and that can become life-threatening.

SOURCES:

American Association for Clinical Chemistry: "Blood Ketones."

American Diabetes Association: "Checking for Ketones." "DKA (Ketoacidosis) & Ketones."

Joslin Diabetes Center: "Ketone Testing: What You Need to Know."

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation: "Type 1 Diabetes Facts."

UpToDate: "Patient information: Self-blood glucose monitoring in diabetes mellitus (Beyond the Basics)."

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on November 12, 2018

SOURCES:

American Association for Clinical Chemistry: "Blood Ketones."

American Diabetes Association: "Checking for Ketones." "DKA (Ketoacidosis) & Ketones."

Joslin Diabetes Center: "Ketone Testing: What You Need to Know."

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation: "Type 1 Diabetes Facts."

UpToDate: "Patient information: Self-blood glucose monitoring in diabetes mellitus (Beyond the Basics)."

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on November 12, 2018

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