What you Need to Know about Ketones In Urine

November 12, 2012

What you Need to Know about Ketones In Urine

Ketones in urine can have many causes however, this article is referring to diabetic acidosis or what is called ketoacidosis. This condition is generally found in individuals that have type 1 diabetes but can occur with type 2 diabetes as well. Ketones are molecules that come from fat metabolism in the process of making energy in the form of ATP. Fats (lipids) are broken down carbon for carbon and the bond energy is used to phosphorylate ADP to ATP (adenosine diphosphate to adenosine triphosphate). ATP is the energy currency of every cell in your body. If you are diabetic and have a lack of insulin, ketones can be produced because you have high blood sugar levels. Quite often you already have to many ketoacids in your blood and urine. Now, your producing even more. Diabetic acidosis or ketoacidosis is life threatening and requires immediate medical attention. When you get to the hospital, healthcare professionals will administer fluids and intravenous insulin.

What causes ketoacidosis? Ketones in urine due to diabetes is generally caused by a lack of insulin. Quite often this occurs because the individual has missed prescribed doses. Keep in mind that insulin pulls sugar out of the blood bringing sugar into your cells. At, the same time insulin reduces fat metabolism. Metabolic wise, you burn sugar first, fat second and muscle (protein) third. If your insulin levels drop, your body starts burning fat for energy and in this case blood sugar rises in your blood because there is no insulin to pull it out. This can be seen and smelled in your urine and breath. Glucose (sugar) is so excessive it is excreted from the kidney into urine and since you’re using fat to generate energy, ketones are formed and ketones are excreted by the kidneys and end up in urine. Ketones in urine and blood means your body has gone acidic. Your body will try to decrease the amount of acid in your blood by causing you to breath deeply and rapidly. This removes CO2 from the blood which is also an acid. This will help temporarily to bring down blood acid levels. In the mean time, high glucose levels cause a loss of water and salts in the kidneys which causes dehydration. This is a point of no return and your body begins to shut down.

There are certain symptoms to look out for when ketoacidosis occurs. Generally, this is associated with diabetes so as you can guess shows typical diabetic symptoms only in this case they are more pronounced. You will experience thirst, more frequent urination and a urine that smells sweet, fatigue, mental confusion and possible loss of consciousness (diabetic coma) due to high sugar levels. Acidosis symptoms involve deep and rapid breathing, acid breath, stomach upset and possible vomiting. If you are a type 1 diabetic and are monitoring you blood sugar levels, taking insulin and eating properly, diabetic acidosis (ketoacidosis) can still occur and produce ketones in urine. This condition can develop rapidly without any obvious warning due to some recent infection you have acquired. This is particularly true of stomach infections such as gastritis. You may have nausea and vomiting so you stop eating. This may make you think you need less insulin but in fact you need more. This will turn into diabetic acidosis.

If your glucose is too high, chances are you are producing ketones and will have high concentrations of ketones in urine. You should have ketone paper strips to measure ketone in your urine. This is simple. You just urinate over the strip and look for a color change and that will tell you.

If you are experiencing diabetic acidosis and have ketones in urine, you need medical intervention. At the hospital, they will provide you with intravenous fluids, intravenous insulin, potassium supplements and antibiotics if you have an infection.

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