Saturday, January 22, 2011

What Are Ketones, Anyway??

I have been asked this question a lot lately. What are ketones? How do you get ketones? These are just a few of the questions I have been asked regarding ketones lately, so I thought today, we could discuss what ketones are.

According to Joslin Diabetes Center,

Ketones are produced when the body burns fat for energy or fuel. They are also produced when you lose weight or if there is not enough insulin to help your body use sugar for energy. Without enough insulin, glucose builds up in the blood. Since the body is unable to use glucose for energy, it breaks down fat instead. When this occurs, ketones form in the blood and spill into the urine. These ketones can make you very sick.
Often times, ketones can appear when you are sick also.

We test Lenny for Ketones when:
  • His blood sugar is over 240
  • He is sick or coming down with something
  • For pump users (like Lenny), a kinked pump site (cannula), or infected site can cause ketones to appear.
When Lenny was first diagnosed, the endo's told us that sometimes, a presence of ketones can be  our first indicator that he is getting sick... even before other symptoms appear.

How do you know when ketones are present?

The urine ketone sticks give you a general idea of how high the ketones in the urine are. There are 6 different colors that will appear on the ketone sticks when a you urinate on them.

The beige/white color means negative for ketones

The very light pink color means trace ketones (meaning there are ketones, but just a trace of them in the urine).

The light pink (but a little darker than trace) means there are small ketones.

The darker pink means moderate ketones.

Then there are two other colors, one I call a light maroon, and the other I call a dark maroon color. Both of those colors mean large ketones.

We typically do not use urine ketone sticks to test for ketones anymore, thanks to the Precision Xtra Ketone Motitor, we now check his blood for ketones, as it is more accurate than urine.

Tomorrow's post, "Handling Ketones", will explain  how our family in particular handles ketones when they appear, so be sure to come back tomorrow!


Sweet ~N~ Sassy said...

Good educating!

Meri said...

Great idea to post this! I know a lot of families really don't know what ketones are.

Jacquelyne Cullen said...

Thank you so much for this informative blog article!