Ketones in Urine-Causes, During pregnancy, Diabetes


The existence of ketones in urine is an indicator that the person might have diabetes mellitus or is starved. The medical term for ketones in urine is ketonuria.

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Causes of Ketones in Urine

There are two possible causes of ketones in urine: Diabetes or starvation. The most common one is diabetes; but starvation is also not exceptional.

Diabetes – Ketones in urine could indicate diabetes mellitus. If a person has diabetes, he/she lacks insulin. If there is no insulin in the system, the tendency is for fatty acids to be freed from the fatty tissues. The fatty acids will be carried on towards the liver where they will be metabolized, thus, producing ketones as by-product. If not remedied right away, the person is in great risk of too much ketones in the body or also known as diabetic ketoacidosis. The ketones are usually filtered off by the kidneys. However, damage to or malfunction of the kidneys is one of the comorbidity of diabetes. The kidney is damaged, it will now fail to filter off ketones which would then result to ketones in urine.

Starvation – Ketones can be found in urine because of starvation. Starvation is usually caused by a lot of weight loss programs. A number of these programs advice and encourage the individual to stick to a diet that is high in protein and low or zero carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are very essential to the body as they serve as the fuel to energize the body. If the individual’s diet does not contain enough carbohydrates to supply energy to the body, the stored fat inside the system will become the primary source of energy and broken down. The process of metabolizing fatty acids produces by-products such as ketones. High quantity of ketones in urine, thus, could mean that the diet lacks carbohydrates and the body is resorting to the use of fats to have the energy it needs.

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Diagnosis and Treatment for Ketones in Urine

To determine if there is a significant amount of ketones in the urine, the first step an individual must do is to take a ketone urine test or conduct a simple urine test himself by using test strips such as Ketostix and Ketur test. The individual must follow the step by step instructions provided by the manufacturer as found in the test strip package. The individual must make sure that the urine collected is fresh and uncontaminated. If the test strip indicates a positive result, meaning ketones are indeed present in the urine, the next thing to do is to visit the doctor. The doctor would then perform different diagnostic tests in order to determine the real disease that caused the presence of ketones in urine. If it is due to starvation, the doctor would encourage the individual to eat a balanced diet that would include carbohydrates. If it is due to diabetes, the doctor would advice insulin replacement and prescribe maintenance medicines for diabetes such as Glucophage and Metformin.

The presence of ketones in urine is not something that should be taken for granted as excessive ketones in the body could lead to complications. Besides, ketones found in urine are symptoms of serious problems like starvation and diabetes, which, needless to say, must be addressed promptly.

Ketones in Urine During Pregnancy

Ketones in urine during pregnancy may not be a high risk but it certainly is when there is high percentage of ketonuria. High incidence of ketones in urine during pregnancy can be due to improper diet, long gaps between meals,  starvation, gestational diabetes and hormones that cause insulin resistance. In order to prevent ketones in urine during pregnancy, a pregnant woman should have balanced diet that is high in protein and carbohydates, and to have meals every 3 or 4 hours. Also do not forget to have enough water.

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