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What Is Ketones? You Should To Know About It

What are Ketones?

The human body, in a normal scenario runs on glucose. However when your body does not have enough insulin to turn glucose into energy, your body needs another source and it uses fats to produce energy.

With the breakdown of fats, your body also produces some chemicals which are known as ketones. 

Chemically known as ketone bodies, ketones are the by-products of breaking down of fatty acids.

Ketones are present in everyone. The chemicals made in your liver are sent to the bloodstream from where these are consumed as fuel by your muscles and tissues.

However if the amount of ketones in your body increases (like in case of diabetes), it is a serious issue which can become life – threatening. This calls for urgent attention and should not be left untreated.

Symptoms of High Keto Level

In a person without diabetes, insulin, glucagon, and other hormones control ketone levels in the blood from getting too high. But people with diabetes are at risk for ketone build up in their blood.

Watch out for the below signs:

  • Blood sugar levels greater than 240 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)
  • Dry mouth
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Frequent urination

If this is left untreated, it may become adverse and can lead to:

  • Feeling very tired
  • Inflamed skin
  • Fruity breath odour
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in Stomach
  • Breathing Issues
  • Loss of consciousness

High ketone levels are alarming and thus you need to seek immediate medical attention. 

Let’s now understand that how can you test ketone levels.

How are ketones tested?

If you want to know the levels of ketones in your body for some kind of doubt, you should visit your doctor who can suggest blood or urine test to measure the levels of ketones and glucose and provide you timely treatment.

Another test for ketones is in a similar way to finger-stick glucose test. Pricking your finger, a drop of blood is placed on testing area to know the amount of ketones.

People who are just diagnosed as diabetic are often advised by the doctor to check for the amount of ketones on a daily basis as this can potentially be the cause of Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).

DKA is a serious complication of type 1 diabetes where ketones levels are dangerously high.

Are ketones always associated with high blood sugar?

Mostly ketones accompany high blood sugar indicating the requirement of more insulin for your body. However there are cases when ketones levels increase even if the blood sugar is low or normal. This is also called as starvation ketones or nutritional ketones.  If you are ill or have switched to a diet taking less of carbs, the body starts using fats for fuelling energy and as a result produce ketones even though your blood sugar is normal.

Drinking enough water on daily basis helps flush out ketones. But other than this, if you have high ketone levels do not hesitate consulting your doctor who can best recommend what to do to tackle the condition.