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What are urine ketones?

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Quick Answer

Urine ketones are formed when stored fat is broken down, instead of carbohydrates, for energy production, explains WebMD. Glucose formation from breaking down carbohydrates normally supplies energy to the body, but a deficiency or the mismanagement of glucose causes elevated ketone levels in the urine or blood.

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Full Answer

High-fiber or low-carb diets, as well as other abnormal conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes, alcoholism and gestational diabetes, cause ketones, according to WebMD. Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia, may also cause the condition. While experiencing illness symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting, ketone testing provides accurate test results using either blood or urine testing. Blood testing provides more accurate test results than a urine test.

It is possible to detect ketone urine levels using a home test kit or lab, collecting a sample of urine in a clean container, states WebMD. Follow the directions printed on the packaging, and avoid contaminating the sample. Contaminants may include foreign matter and other items, such as toilet tissue and pubic hair.

Any detected level of ketone is abnormal for a blood or urine test. Moderate or slightly elevated ketones in women with gestational diabetes could potentially harm the fetus. However, an extremely elevated number of ketones, diabetic ketoacidosis, is potentially fatal, according to WebMD.

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