Ketone Testing for Diabetes Management


This test measures the amount of ketones in the blood or urine. Ketones are acids that build up to a toxic level when the body does not have enough insulin. The presence of ketones can show that a person who has diabetes is experiencing a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. This is a serious complication of diabetes that can be life-threatening.

Blood Test

A ketone test requires either a sample of blood or a sample of urine. The blood test is the most accurate method. This test uses a drop of blood taken from a finger prick. The test may be performed by a health professional at a doctor's office or clinic. It can also be performed at home with a glucose meter that is capable of measuring ketone levels.

Urine Test

The urine test requires a ketone strip. This paper strip is held in the urine stream or dipped into a clean urine sample. The strip will change color to show the presence of ketones. Although the urine test is less accurate, it can be a simple and convenient way to keep track of ketone levels.

When to Test

Ketone testing may be recommended during times of illness or stress. It may also be recommended if a person has symptoms associated with ketoacidosis, such as increased thirst, frequent urination, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.