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Guide to Diabetes

Monitoring ketones 

It is important to test for ketone especially if you have type 1 diabetes. (Insulin dependent). Ketones gather if you don’t have enough insulin. They can make you feel sick and make you vomit. Always keep a supply of ketostix in case of illnesses, unless you have a meter for testing blood ketones.



  What are Ketones

Ketones are an acid remaining when the body burns its own fat.
When the body has insufficient insulin, it cannot get glucose from the blood into the body's cells to use as energy and will instead begin to burn fat.
When the body is burning too much fat, it may cause ketones to become present in the bloodstream.

Why is it important to Monitor Ketones?

  • The urine and breath become loaded with ketones which have a distinct smell often described as like pear drops.
  • You may require medical help, as this can lead to hyperglycaemic coma- diabetic ketoacidosis.
  • To test your urine for ketones dip the Ketostix in the urine, remove and wait for 15 seconds, then read the results.
  • If you are not sure contact your diabetes specialist nurse or GP for advice.


Ketoacidosis is an emergency condition and if not treated can result in coma and death. Ketoacidosis does not develop quickly; blood glucose usually rise over a 24-48 hour period.