Ketones are by-products of fat metabolism. They are normally not found in urine, so their presence points to some metabolic imbalances. For instance, one may have ketones in urine if he/she consumes insufficient amount of carbohydrates during a period of starvation. High-protein diets are also blamed for the presence of ketones in urine. This problem additionally affects people suffering from diabetes whose body simply cannot use carbohydrates properly.
Optimal level of ketones in urine is zero, so any presence of ketones in urine is considered pathological and requires further investigation.
Ketones in Urine Causes
There is a serious health issue if the level of ketones in urine is high. This typically develops in individuals suffering from diabetes type 1 whose body cannot utilize glucose. Instead, the body metabolizes fats to produce energy and as a result the amount of ketones rises.
Fortunately, in some cases ketones in urine occur due to a physiological response of the body and are not related to any medical condition. This is, for instance, seen in starvation that lasts at least 18 hours. Furthermore, ketones in urine occur during strict dieting, if one sticks to low carb diet or high fat diet. It is also possible for ketones to occur in urine if one is under severe stress, exercises excessively or is exposed to cold. Nausea and frequent vomiting, insulin overdose and severe fever associated with some infection are several more causes of ketones in urine.
Diabetes and Ketones in Urine
In individuals suffering from diabetes, ketones in urine indicate that they do not have sufficient amount of insulin in the blood. It is recommended for all people suffering from diabetes to have their urine checked for ketones if they have high glucose level (300mg/dL or even higher), experience some of the symptoms associated with high blood sugar like nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain. This testing also refers to pregnant women with diabetes. Finally, such testing is obligatory in diabetic people who have developed some infection or are feeling very stressed.
Ketones in Urine during Pregnancy
If a pregnant woman is found ketones in urine, there is a chance that she has developed gestational diabetes. This type of diabetes affects pregnant women who have been completely healthy prior pregnancy. If their urine contains ketones, doctor will perform additional tests and exams and confirm gestational diabetes or rule it out, identifying other cause of this imbalance. Even in pregnancy ketones may occur in urine without being caused by gestational diabetes. For example, urine in pregnant women contains moderate amount of ketones if nausea and vomiting tend to be profuse and last for a long period of time.