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General Practice 2023

What does ketone bodies in urine mean (and what to do)

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What does ketone bodies in urine mean (and what to do)
What does ketone bodies in urine mean (and what to do)

The presence of ketone bodies in the urine, a situation called ketonuria, is usually a sign that there is an increase in the degradation of lipids to generate energy, since carbohydrate stores are compromised, which can happen in cases of decompensated diabetes, prolonged fasting or restricted diet, for example.

The measurement of ketone bodies in urine is mainly used in people with type 1 diabetes in order to verify the person's response to treatment. Thus, when insulin treatment is not performed as directed by the doctor, it is possible to identify a high amount of ketone bodies, characterizing ketonuria.

Causes of ketone bodies in urine

The presence of ketone bodies in urine can be the result of several situations, the main ones being:

  • Decompensated type 1 diabetes;
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis;
  • Prolonged fasting;
  • Problems of the pancreas;
  • Excessive exercise;
  • Low-carbohydrate and high-fat diet;
  • Pregnancy;
  • Frequent vomiting.

In this way, positive ketone bodies in the urine are not always a sign of problems, and may only indicate that the person is fasting or is on a very restrictive diet, for example.

However, when the presence of ketone bodies is accompanied by symptoms or a high amount of blood sugar, it may mean that the person has decompensated diabetes, and it is important to consult an endocrinologist so that treatment can be started as soon as possible. as quickly as possible, avoiding complications.

How the exam is done

The amount of ketone bodies in the urine can be measured by means of a conventional urine test, in which the color change of the ribbon used in this test can be observed, indicating ketonuria.

However, it is important that this value be confirmed by performing another urine test or blood test, since the person's hydration level, for example, can interfere with the result, providing results false positives when the person is dehydrated, or false negatives when the person drinks a lot of water.

Understand how the urine test is done.

Symptoms of ketone bodies in urine

Usually when there are ketone bodies in the urine, there are also in the blood, this situation being called ketosis. It is possible to identify the presence of ketone bodies through some symptoms such as excessive thirst, the urge to pee frequently, metallic-tasting breath and nausea, for example.Know how to recognize the symptoms of ketosis.

What to do

It is important that excess ketone bodies in both urine and blood are investigated and treated by the doctor as the accumulation of ketone bodies in the blood can result in various he alth problems such as dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, acidosis and even coma.

From the identification of the cause of ketonuria, the doctor may indicate the use of insulin, intravenous fluid replacement or the adequacy of the diet, so that it contains ideal amounts of carbohydrates, proteins and fat in the diet.

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