Ketone testing: urine or blood

Check your urine (ketostix) or blood (Precision meter) for ketones if you are sick or have high blood sugars or symptoms of ketoacidosis. 

Follow the protocol as described and seek medical attention as needed.

Read our handout on sick day care for individuals with type 1 diabetes. 

What is DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis)?

It is a potentially life-threatening complication in patients with diabetes. It happens mostly with type 1 diabetes. DKA results from a shortage of insulin and in response the body burns fat (fatty acids) and produces ketone bodies that produce most of the symptoms.

DKA may be the first symptom of undiagnosed diabetes or it may occur in known diabetes patients who are ill or not taking their insulin.

Signs and symptoms

  • Nausea, vomiting, pronounced thirst, excessive urine production, and abdominal pain.
  • In severe DKA, breathing may be laboured, deep, gasping nature (Kussmaul respiration), confusion, lethargy, or even coma.
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