Ketones in the urine may indicate diabetic ketoacidosis; reflect insufficient nutrition associated with eating disorders, fasting and low-carbohydrate diets; be present in conjunction with fever or burns; or indicate cases of hyperthyroidism, according to MedlinePlus. Ketones may also be present in the urine of a lactating or pregnant woman, or in cases of acute or severe illness.
Finding ketone chemicals in the urine is common in type 1 diabetes, indicating that, because there is insufficient insulin in the blood, the body has begun breaking down fat instead of glucose to provide energy, explains the American Diabetes Association. Warning signs that indicate urine ketones might be too high include feeling confused, fatigued, extremely thirsty and nauseated. The skin may be flushed, vomiting may occur, and the individual’s breath often has a fruity odor. Diabetics testing urine at home who find trace amounts of ketones in their urine should repeat the test in a few hours to ensure that amounts do not continue to grow, a sign of a dangerous glucose imbalance in the blood that can be life-threatening.
Because fasting and other conditions cause mild increases in urine ketone levels, the amount of ketones is often more important than the presence, reports WebMD. Certain medications and supplements can affect the reliability of the urine test result, including large doses of vitamin C, Depakote, Larodopa and Sinemet.