The test measures ketone levels in your urine. Normally, your body burns glucose (sugar) for energy. If your cells don’t get enough glucose, your body burns fat for energy instead. This produces a substance called ketones, which can show up in your blood and urine. High ketone levels in urine may indicate diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a complication of diabetes that can lead to a coma or other serious health problems. Ketones in the urine test can prompt you to get treatment before a medical emergency occurs.
The test is often used to help monitor people at a higher risk of developing ketones. These include people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
The test involves taking a sample of urine. Once the sample is provided, a small cardboard device known as a dipstick will measure the ketones levels. The dipstick will change color depending on the number of ketones in the urine.
While individual testing may vary, in general, results for ketone testing are labeled the following way:
Normal/Negative – less than 0.6mmol/L
Low to Moderate – 0.6 to 1.5 mmol/L
High – 1.6 to 3.0 mmol/L
Very High – Greater than 3.0 mmol/L
(mmol/L – millimoles per liter)
A doctor needs to be consulted if the range of the ketone test lies between low to moderate and emergency medical attention must be taken if the range lies between high to very high as it could prove fatal.