Dr Aidin Rawshani

Ketones and Diabetes


Test kit for blood sugar and ketones at home

In some countries, it is possible to order test kits to measure HbA1c levels at home and also ketones which are discussed in more detail in the next paragraph. Please note that home HbA1C tests should not be used as a replacement for the HbA1C tests provided by your doctor. The results are given in different ways depending on the test kit, some show a numerical result and others can give a yes if the HbA1C (long-term blood sugar) value is above or below a certain number.

The presence of ketones in the blood is a common complication of diabetes, and if the condition is left untreated, it can lead to ketoacidosis, which is a life-threatening condition. Ketones accumulate when there is not enough insulin in the body, high levels of ketones are therefore more common in people with type 1 diabetes or people with advanced type 2 diabetes. Ketones are an acid that occurs when the body burns its own fat. When the body does not have enough insulin to get glucose from the blood into the body cells, adipose tissue is used as energy, this process is called ketosis. The liver converts fatty acids into ketones which are then released into the blood and used as energy.

It is normal to have a low level of ketones and ketone testing can be carried out in home. The most accurate approach to measuring ketones is to use a blood glucose meter that can test both ketones and blood glucose. It is also possible to measure ketones in your urine, but ketone levels in your urine are representative of your ketone levels in your blood a few hours ago.

As mentioned above, ketones are produced when the body burns fat. Therefore, people who lose significant weight may experience higher ketone levels than normal. Ketone trials have therefore also been used by people with type 2 diabetes on a ketogenic diet to assess whether it burns fat effectively. Ketogenic diets are usually not recommended for people with insulin-dependent diabetes as higher ketone levels may increase the risk of ketoacidosis.

An additional cause of elevated ketone levels, which are less relevant for people with diabetes, is the result of excessive alcohol consumption. Ketone trial is an important part of diabetes treatment for individuals with type 1 diabetes, some researchers believe that people with insulin-dependent diabetes should test their ketone levels every time their blood sugar is above 17 mmol/l or if blood sugar levels have been repeatedly above 13 mmol/l. Ketone test is performed in the same way as a blood glucose test.

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