Diabetes Forecast

Ketone Test Strips 2014

Use a quick test to avoid dangerous diabetic ketoacidosis

By Erika Gebel Berg, PhD , ,
Not eating for about 24 hours or a very low-carb eating plan can result in a small amount of ketone production that may show as a color change on the ketone test strip.

Testing your urine for ketones is a quick and easy way to determine if you are at immediate risk for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). This can occur when people with type 1 don’t take insulin for long periods of time, when insulin pumps fail to deliver insulin and the wearer does not monitor blood glucose, or during serious illness (in type 1 or type 2) when insulin doses are missed or not increased appropriately for the stress of illness. Without enough insulin, the cells in the body can’t absorb glucose and go into starvation mode, breaking down fats for energy. Ketones are a by-product of fat breakdown, and high levels can be toxic. Ketone testing strips check for the presence in urine of one type of ketone, called acetoacetic acid.

 Read the directions that come with your strips for proper use. You’ll either run the strip through a stream of urine or collect urine in a clean container and dip the strip into it. Then, after flicking excess urine from the strip, wait the specified amount of time and compare the strip with the color chart on the packaging. The color corresponds to the concentration of the ketone in urine: negative (no ketone present), trace, small, moderate, or large concentrations.

Trace or small concentrations indicate you may be starting to build up ketones in your system and should make sure your pump is delivering insulin or determine if you missed a shot. Check levels again in a few hours. Moderate or large readings could mean you are in danger—talk to your doctor in advance about what you should do about moderate or large ketone levels in your urine. Also ask about when you should test for ketones—for example, some experts recommend testing ketones when sick or if blood glucose levels go above 300 mg/dl.

Ketones also can be detected in blood using a meter and ketone blood test strips. The meters marked with "K" in this list of blood glucose meters can be used to check for ketones.

Ketone Urine Test Strip Products

Bayer HealthCare
Keto-Diastix (also tests for glucose in urine)


Nipro Diagnostics
Trueplus Ketone Test Strips

LW Scientific
Ketosis Test Strip



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