How To Test for Ketones

Ketones are water soluble molecules that are the result of the catabolism of fatty acids. The presence of ketones in urine may be instrumental in detection of more serious conditions that may have dire consequences on the patient, so care should be taken to monitor it among those at risk – especially patients who have diabetes. What are ketone bodies exactly? These could be any of the following – methy ethyl or methy isobutyl groups that eventually find themselves in the blood and urine one way or another.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that is rooted on the inability of the body to either produce insulin or utilize insulin to properly breakdown certain components derived from your diet. This makes the patient's blood sugar levels unusually high – and at times, unusually low. Having these levels fluctuate wildly in a short period of time can be very dangerous and at times, lethal.

Aside from these unfortunate possibilities, diabetes also attacks a lot of target organs. Among the organs that can be damaged due to the onset of diabetes include the eyes (this may even lead to blurring of vision and eventual blindness), the kidneys (the excess amount of other substances in the blood may damage the fragile blood vessels in the organ) and the peripheral nervous system. Due to the damage to target organs, patients may also suffer from complications like hypertension, kidney disease and even loss of sensation in the hands and feet. These make diabetics more likely to lose limbs because once their foot or hands get infected, healing would be impaired and it would be very easy for infections to cling to the area and cause gangrene.

As you can probably derive from the last paragraph, testing ketones can be a very important and life-saving diagnostic examination. Here’s how you can test for ketones in urine in the usual hospital setting:

  1. The doctor will be the one to make the call whether or not you need testing. If you're a known diabetic and you're experiencing some classic signs of the so-called diabetic emergency called diabetic ketoacidosis, the physician will definitely want to check for your urine ketone levels.
  2. If you're still conscious, you will be asked to provide a urine sample. If you're already drowsy and unable to follow the orders of the doctors, a catheter may be placed in you to drain the needed amount of urine to run the tests.
  3. The sample will then be sent to the laboratory. Amazingly, the test itself takes just a little amount of minutes to run and confirm. A spot test is usually performed using a special kind of paper that will detect the presence of ketone in the urine. The paper will change in color accordingly with regard to the amount of ketone present. The paper will then be compared against a standard to see what the interpretation is.

Ketone testing in urine is one of the fastest diagnostic examinations in modern science. That sure helps patients a lot since the speed of the test affects how fast doctors can act in helping the patient. 


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