Blood Ketones Ketoacidosis Symptoms And Treatment


The human body needs to produce a lot of glucose, as this is the main source of energy for the body. In a case where the body cells cannot receive enough glucose, the body produces substances known as Ketones. Ketones can be visible in the urine or blood of a person. Ketones are harmful, and if produced at a high level, it may indicate the presence of a complicated case of diabetes known as Ketoacidosis. This condition is often a complication of type 1 diabetes and occurs when a dangerously high level of glucose and ketones are accumulated in the blood.  

At Blood London, we conduct blood tests on patients for proper examination and diagnosis. When a blood test is conducted on a person and ketones are present in the blood, it can prompt one to get treatment before the occurrence of a medical emergency.

What Are Ketones Used For?

The most likely set of people to be affected are people with type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body is unable to produce any insulin — this is a very dangerous condition. Diabetic Ketoacidosis can be found in people that have type 1 diabetes, and this is why ketones are needed. They are used to check if Diabetic Ketoacidosis is present in a person. 

Symptoms Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA)

A person with DKA will exhibit the following symptoms;

  • Fatigue
  • Excessive thirst
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • confusion
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fruity-scented breath
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue

For more specific symptoms, a blood and urine test will be carried out on the patient. If there is a high level of ketone in the patient’s urine or the blood sugar level is high (hyperglycemia), then the patient may have DKA.

What Happens During The Blood Test?

When you visit a clinic to carry out private blood tests near me, the procedures are quite simple and straightforward. A needle will be used to collect some blood from the vein in your arm. The nurse may ask you to clench your fist during the blood collection to aid the expansion of veins. When a suitable vein is found, the needle is inserted, and the blood is collected into a small vial. The blood is then analysed correctly. 

In some cases, the doctor may prefer a urine test to a blood test. The doctor may also ask for the combination of both urine and a blood test. Sometimes, an A1c level and blood glucose level test may also be required to check the diabetes level of the patient. 

If you would prefer to test for blood ketones yourself at home, then speak to your doctor about it. You may be provided with a home kit and proper instructions to aid the successful completion of the procedure. There may be a device in your kit that will be used to draw blood from your skin.

The process of collecting a sample of your blood for testing is usually not painful. Except for the initial sting from the needle, the procedure is totally pain-free and generally takes not more than 5 Minutes. 

Special Preparations Before A DKA

The whole procedure is even easier as no special preparations are to be made before you can get a DKA test.

Risks Involved In The DKA Test

Asides the initial bruise and little pressure felt from the needle inserted around the arm region, there are no risks involved in this test.

Interpreting The Results

Typically, a patient that has no ketones in the blood will get a result that says negative. If there is a high level of ketones present in your blood, this indicates that the patient has DKA. If your result comes out positive, you should relax and start treatment immediately. Your doctor will either provide or recommend the right treatment for you.

Asides diabetes, there are other conditions that can make you test positive for DKA. Two main conditions are;

  • Pregnancy: This is a critical case as it is harmful to both mother and foetus. Since pregnancy is a state of insulin resistance, the amount of insulin needed during pregnancy increases, causing an increase in the cases of DKA in pregnant women, especially in the second and third trimester.

If the level of ketone in the blood during pregnancy is high, it can be as a result of gestational diabetes.

  • Eating disorder: When the body is malnourished and does not take in enough calories, DKA can be the result.

Note that people who are on a keto diet can test positive for high ketone level in the blood. A ketone diet is a diet that is low in carbohydrates, and high in fat. It is done to reduce the intake of carbohydrate and replace this intake with fat. This diet can cause the body of a healthy person to produce ketones.  Ensure that you discuss with your doctor effectively before starting up a keto diet.  

To examine your blood in a clinic and check to see if you have DKA, you can search for “blood tests near me in London. Locate a good medical centre and get your blood sample examined.  

You May Also Like

About the Author: Peter Beaumont

Peter Beaumont is a senior reporter on the Guardian's Global Development desk. He has reported extensively from conflict zones including Africa, the Balkans and the Middle East and is the author of The Secret Life of War: Journeys Through Modern Conflict. Email: