Checking for Ketones

blood test

There are two ways to test for ketones.

Both have advantages and disadvantages. Decide which is right for you and seek immediate medical attention if you test positive.

Check your urine or blood for ketones if you are sick or have symptoms of ketoacidosis. If the test is positive, you need immediate medical care.

There are two ways to test your body for ketones.

How to Check for Urine Ketones

Urine Ketones: Examples: Ketostixs® or Chemstrips®
Urine is applied to reagent strip and the color change shows the level of ketones.

  • Advantages:
    • Easy to use
    • Portable
    • Reasonably priced
  • Disadvantages:
    • Results are not current; they may lag by as many as three hours
    • Color changes are categorized as trace, small, medium, and large only
    • Dehydration can affect results

CAUTION: Be sure to get individually foil wrapped urine ketone test strips! Test strips rapidly loose their accuracy once they are exposed to the air. By using individually foil wrapped strips, only the strip you are using is exposed to the atmosphere.

How to Check for Blood Ketones

Blood Ketones: Example: Abbott Precision Xtra®

Quantitative ketone (beta-hydroxybutyrate) is measured. The normal level is less than 0.6 mmol/l. Check the manufacturer’s package insert for an explanation of results and more information. CardioChek, BioScanner 2000, and other blood ketone testing devices are also available.

  • Advantages:
    • Results are more accurate and reflect ketone levels at the time the test is done vs. lag time found with the urine testing
  • Disadvantages:
    • The blood ketone test strips are expensive
    • May not be covered by medical insurance
    • Test requires a meter

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