Giving meaning to ketone bodies with diabetes | DISCOUNT CODE !

By Jeemin Kwon

Learn what ketones are, how they are measured and how to use the information.

Some people with diabetes are at higher risk of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which can be a frightening complication (click here for an overview of DCO). Type 1 patients are at a higher risk than Type 2 patients, and among Type 1 patients, those taking a class of medications called SGLT-2 inhibitors are more likely to have ACD. The good news is that keeping an eye on ketone levels at home can help reduce the risk of complications. This article will explain what are ketones, how and when to measure ketones and what to do with different levels of ketones.

For more detailed information on when It is very important to measure ketones, click here for our deep dive on the DKA.


What is a ketone?

Ketones are alternative fuels for the body when its cells lack glucose (sugar) for a prolonged period. This mechanism was originally designed to help humans cope with long periods of time without food. When the body's cells lack sugar (in case of diabetes, usually because of the lack of insulin, the "key" needed for the sugar to enter the cells), the body releases the fat stored in the fat cells . the fat then goes to the liver, where it is broken down into ketones, which are used as fuel instead of glucose. This is not usually problematic. Ketosis is known to have too many ketones in the blood, and it is common for the body to be at a low intensity when you wake up in the morning because the body is "fasting" during the night.

As ketosis is the result of fat breakdown, a popular weight loss method is the ketogenic diet, which uses specific foods low in carbohydrates – and therefore in sugars – to get the body to burn fat to get it off the table. # 39; energy.

The risk associated with ketones, however, is that too much in the blood makes it acidic, leading to DKA. To be clear, a low carb or ketogenic diet usually increases ketone levels, but usually does not cause ADK; On the contrary, if insulin levels are too low, thus preventing cells from taking glucose, ketone levels rise and a DKA can develop.

How do you measure ketones?

1. Ketone Counters (blood): BHB measurement, the main ketone involved in ACD


  • No time lag because it measures the blood directly; recommended compared to options 2 and 3 in terms of accuracy

  • Perhaps a more familiar device to use because it works exactly like a glucometer; in fact, some ketone counters can also measure blood glucose (uses different test strips)

The inconvenients:

  • More expensive than other options; counters usually cost between $ 30 and $ 60, and test strips can cost $ 1 or more

  • May not be covered by insurance

Ketones available in the United States:

  • Precision Xtra: The counter costs $ 18 at Walmart, bands cost between $ 1.00 and $ 5.00 each, depending on the store.
  • NovaMax Plus: the counter costs $ 10 at Walmart, bands cost from $ 1.50 to $ 2.50 each
  • Keto-Mojo: $ 60 for the meter, lancets and 10 strips

The insurance coverage of ketone counters varies considerably; call your insurer and ask if / what ketone meters are covered.

2. Ketone strips (urine): measure AcAc (a type of ketone that leaves the body through urine)


  • You do not need a prescription, you can find strips in most pharmacies

  • Cheaper; bands can cost as little as $ 0.16 each (depends on quantity and store)

The inconvenients:

Ketones bands available:

The insurance coverage of urine strips varies from one company to another. call your insurer and ask him if he is covered. That said, ketone urinary strips are affordable without insurance for many.

3. Ketone Counters (breath): measure acetone (type of ketone expired)

These counters are marketed for people on a ketogenic diet to check their nutritional status, but are not currently recommended for people with diabetes, as no studies have been conducted to directly compare blood ketones and ketones. in the breath in the context of diabetes.

What do ketone level measurements mean?

Ketone meter (BHB) measurement with one meter:


Less than 0.6 mmol / L

Average (ketosis) *

Between 0.6 and 1.5 mmol / L

high *

Between 1.5 and 3.0 mmol / L

ACD possible **

Greater than 3.0 mmol / L

* People who follow a low carbohydrate diet often have ketone levels between 0.5 and 3 mmol / l. ** The experts did not reach an agreement on the level too high. some are very conservative and say that the threshold is 1.5 mmol / L, while others use a much higher threshold of 10 mmol / L.

Measurement of ketone bands in urine (AcAc):

Most ketone bands in the urine have the following color levels: trace (very small amount), small, medium, large.

When urine ketone strips read "medium" or "tall," alert your health care provider.

Giving meaning to ketone bodies with diabetes | DISCOUNT CODE !
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