Genitourinary system

Ketones in urine: 6 Causes, Symptoms, How to get rid of ketones in urine

Ketones in urine can make you worried as you start wondering why they are present. Let’s explore the causes and remedies for the presence of ketones in urine.

The human body uses glucose to perform its normal functions. When the body has a low glucose level or suffering from diabetes, your body does not have enough insulin to ensure your cells can absorb the available glucose.

Without the proper absorption of glucose by the cells, the body begins to break down the available fats for energy.

The breaking down of fats for energy results in Ketones. Ketones are also known as Ketone bodies. It is a normal process for every individual to have his or her body break down fats for fuel and form ketones.

The liver has the function of assisting in the breakdown of the fat into energy that is in the form of a chemical. The tissues and muscles use the energy for fuel.

However, the reason that prevents people without diabetes from having high levels of ketones in their blood is that their hormones, insulin, and glucagon prevent that from happening.

People who have diabetes mellitus are prone to having higher levels of ketones in their bloodstream. A high level of ketones in the blood is quite dangerous.

If ketones are left untreated, it can lead to other medical conditions. For instance, people who have a type 1 diabetes, often develop diabetic ketoacidosis.

While people suffering from type 2 diabetes develop diabetic ketoacidosis, which is often quite rare. Usually, the body eliminates the present ketones using the filtering process in the kidneys.

Ketones in Urine Causes:

ketones in urine
Ketones in urine
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The most important thing to note about ketones is that they have different classifications and levels. The levels or classifications of Ketones in urine include large, moderate, and small.

The classification of the ketones in urine depends on the concentration level present in the urine. Here are some causes of ketones in urine

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1.Type 1 diabetes:

Like mentioned earlier people with type 1 diabetes are most likely to suffer diabetic ketoacidosis if there is a presence of ketones in urine.

People with type 1 diabetes do not have enough insulin to ensure their bodies metabolise the glucose available in their bodies. Without enough energy from the sugar, the body then breaks down the fat and uses it as energy. Hence, causing ketones in urine.

2. Poor eating habits:

Abnormal nutritional habits, for instance, fasting, low-fat diets, starvation, high protein diets, and anorexia also cause ketones in urine.

3. Pregnancy and lactation periods:

Women who are lactating or pregnant often have high levels of ketones in urine. These two conditions are psychologically linked to the presence of ketones in urine.

4. Metabolic disorders:

Metabolic disorders also cause ketones in urine.

5. High degree burns or fevers
6. Hyperthyroidism

Ketones in Urine Symptoms:

There may be no specific symptoms for the presence of ketones in urine. However, the symptoms that present themselves due to this condition can be associated with other conditions. Nevertheless, here are some common symptoms for ketones in urine

  • An increase in blood sugar levels for people with diabetes
  • Strong thirst
  • Dryness in mouth
  • Frequent urination

However, without treatment the symptoms progress to:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • A flushed skin
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Pain in the stomach
  • Confusion
  • A fruity odour

However, it is essential to note that the ketones in urine symptoms are often connected to other medical conditions. Some of these medical conditions include heart attack, pneumonia, or even a stroke.

To help the doctor properly diagnosis the condition, several tests are taken for ketones in urine condition. The test uses urine and blood samples to determine the level of ketones present in urine.

Who requires a ketone in a urine test?

People who are suffering from type 1 diabetes. People with this type of diabetes have an immune system that attacks and destroys the pancreatic cells that help in the production of insulin. Without the insulin, their sugar levels increase

People who have type 2 diabetes. People with this type of condition could also develop ketone in urine conditions. Nevertheless, this is a rare condition

When does one require testing for ketones in urine?

You require to test for ketones in urine when:

  • Your blood sugar surpasses 250 milligrams per deciliter for two consecutive days. This is mostly for people with a diabetic condition since they closely monitor their blood sugar levels.
  • You are injured or sick
  • You are lactating or pregnant
  • You desire to exercise, and you have a blood sugar level that surpasses 250 milligrams per deciliter.
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A ketone test assists the doctor in coming up with the correct diagnosis regarding your condition. It also helps to warn you of a severe condition like diabetic ketoacidosis. High levels of ketones present in urine also signify that your blood sugar levels are also dangerously high.

The advantageous thing about the ketone tests is that you do not require visiting the hospital; you can easily perform one in the comfort of your house.

Home kit tests for ketone levels are easy to use. You can purchase both urine and blood test kits from your local drug store. When using the urine test kit, you just have to take a sample of your urine by peeing into a clean container.

Insert the test strip inside the urine sample. Shake the strip gently and wait for the strip to change colour.

The test kit comes with a chart to help you know what the colour of the strip means. The colour indicated by the strip will help you determine whether you have high levels of ketones in your urine.

For the blood test kit, take a sample of your blood and proceed by placing the drop of your blood on the hole in the blood strip.

Ketone test Interpretation:

Use the meter that comes with the blood strip to check the results. The results of both the urine test will mean one of the following:

  • No ketones
  • Small traces of ketones found
  • Moderate ketones in urine
  • Large traces of ketones in urine.

While the blood tests will mean one of the following:

  • Less than 0.6 means Normal
  • Between 0.6 and 1.0 means slightly high levels
  • Between 1.0 and 3.0 means moderately high
  • Higher than 3.0 means high levels of ketones

The presence of moderate or slightly high ketones in urine indicates that they have started building up. While high levels of ketones suggest that they have started building up, you may have diabetic ketoacidosis.

Once you get the readings from the test, ensure you visit a doctor to get further treatment and a medical diagnosis

How to get rid of ketones in Urine:

Once you can identify the levels of ketones in urine using the urine and blood test kits, the next step is getting rid of them. Getting rid of ketones in urine before they become fatal helps avert severe cases like hospitalisation or diabetic ketoacidosis. Here are some methods on how to get rid of ketones in urine

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During emergencies, people receive an insulin shot using an IV. The insulin helps them improve their ability to break down the available glucose in their body and turn it into energy.

When the blood sugar and ketone level begins to return to normal, the insulin IV is no longer a requirement. The insulin IV enables diabetic patients to return to their regular insulin injections.

Electrolyte replacement:

When a person suffers from diabetic ketoacidosis, they tend to have a low level of electrolyte in their bodies.

Some examples of electrolytes present in the body include chloride, potassium, and sodium. When a person with a high number of electrolytes in the body, the muscles and heart do not function as expected.

Therefore replacing the lost electrolytes due to ketones in urine ensures that the muscles and heart function appropriately.

Proper nutritional habits:

One of the causes of ketones in urine is poor eating habits. Therefore, to ensure that your ketone level is normal, avoid an abnormal eating behaviour. Modify your diet to include balanced diet nutrition in every meal will help reduce the level of ketone in urine. You can start by increasing the number of carbohydrates you take per meal.

The carbohydrates will provide the body with sufficient glucose to turn into energy. Adequate presence of glucose in the body means a decrease of ketone in urine. Ensure you eat fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and cereals in balanced proportions.

Regular exercise:

Yoga and regular exercise help the body stabilise its metabolism. A stable metabolism means that your body can properly balance your fat and carbohydrate metabolism. Exercising four times a week for approximately 15 minutes makes it possible to achieve a proper and stable metabolism.


The use of cinnamon after a meal helps your body cells absorb sugar even when insulin is absent. The consumption of 2 to 3 milligrams of cinnamon in a cup of tea or water is quite beneficial for people with a diabetic condition.

Pregnant and lactating mothers should also make sure they eat a balanced diet always to help reduce the ketone in urine and prevent the ketone level from increasing.


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