If you are following a ketogenic diet or suffering from diabetes, you must check your urine regularly to detect the presence of ketones. Being aware of how to test for ketones in urine at home will help you diagnose a medical condition called Ketonuria.
Ketonuria refers to the presence of ketone bodies in your urine. This may indicate your body has replaced glucose with fats as its alternative source of energy. (1)
The presence of ketones in your urine can indicate health conditions such as:
- Diabetic ketoacidosis
- Ketogenic diet
- Starvation for more than 12 hours
- Alcohol dependency
- Bulimia nervosa
- Anorexia nervosa
What Causes High Ketone Levels?
Glucose is the primary source of fuel for our body. However, when your body is deprived of this source of fuel, it starts utilizing the alternate sources such as fats to meet its energy requirements.(2)
This state may occur when you are consuming a very less amount of carbohydrates during a ketogenic diet.
Low glucose levels in the body can also occur when you have diabetes. Diabetes results in an inadequate production of insulin due to which your cells are not able to absorb the glucose in the blood. (3)
These conditions can force your body to start breaking down fats for meeting its energy requirement. Ketones (chemically called ketone bodies) are the by-products released during the breakdown of fats or fatty acids.
Uncontrolled diabetes or a prolonged ketogenic diet can result in the persistently high levels of ketones in your blood.
A small amount of these excess ketones is eliminated from your body through urine.
That is why; you are advised to check your urine for ketones to detect whether your body is producing a high amount of ketone bodies.
If left untreated, the excess ketones in your body can cause a few complications such as:
- Loss of consciousness
- A swelling or damage in your brain (4)
- Diabetic coma
Checking your urine for ketones will help in an early diagnosis of these conditions. It will allow you to take appropriate steps before any complications arise. Let us check the simple steps for how to test for ketones.
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How to Check for Ketones Using Ketone Stripe
You will need ketone urine testing strips to check urine ketones levels. Let us have a look at the step-by-step method to learn how to measure ketones at home.
Step #1: Check Expiry Date
The most important factor you must be cautious about while learning how to test for ketones is to check the expiry date on the pack of strips.
Also, check the specific instructions provided by the manufacturer. Most urine ketone test steps come with instructions regarding:
- How long you need to wait after you have applied urine to the strip
- The time interval needed before checking the color chart.
Step #2: How to check ketones in urine
- Remove one urine ketone strip from the pack.
- Avoid touching the spongy end of the ketone strip.
- Pass urine over the spongy test area of the strip. You can also collect urine in a clean container and dip the test part of the strip in the urine.
- Make sure the test part is completely immersed into the urine.
- Shake off the excess drops of urine from the strip.
Step #3: How to measure ketones at home
- Wait for 15 seconds or the specific duration of time mentioned in the instructions by the manufacturer.
- Compare the color on the strip to the color chart along the side of the bottle.
- Any shade of color on the strip other than the original beige indicates the presence of ketones in your urine.
- The darker and closer the color turns towards purple, the more will be the amount of ketones in your body.
Tips for Using Ketone Urine Strips
If you want to avoid the errors and learn how to measure ketones at home most accurately, you must keep in mind some common precautions to follow such as:
- Don’t forget to check the expiry date on the kit. An expired test strip can give you wrong results.
- Always store the test strips at a cool and dark place.
- Keep the lid of the test strip bottle tightly closed to avoid damage to the strips due to moisture or exposure to air.
- Make sure there is no drastic change in your water intake within the 24 hours before performing the test.
If you are dehydrated, the concentration of ketones in your urine may be higher giving your false positive results.
Likewise, if you have been drinking a lot of fluids, your urine will have a lower concentration of ketone, which will give you false negative results.
- If you are on a ketogenic diet, test your ketone levels early in the morning or immediately after dinner.
It is quite easy to learn how to test for ketones in urine at home.
If you are a diabetic or following a ketogenic diet, you can use the urine ketone strips and follow the steps mentioned above to ensure your body is not producing excessive ketone bodies.
It will help in the timely detection of the presence of excess ketones in your body and help you take appropriate steps. This can prove to be a great step for avoiding the complications of ketoacidosis.