Diabetes ABCs

Diabetes ABCs: K


Letter K

When the body is unable to get energy from glucose – often because there’s not enough insulin to move it out of the blood and into the cells – it starts to break down fat for fuel.  Ketones are substances created during this fat breakdown.  A buildup of ketones is harmful and can lead to a serious condition called ketoacidosis.  There are some at-home test kits you can use to check for ketones in the urine.  Test for ketones if you have high blood sugar (greater than 300 mg/dL); are sick, feel nauseous, or are vomiting; or if you are overly thirsty.  Contact your healthcare provider if results show moderate or large ketones present.

(Content reviewed by MGH Diabetes Center)

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