Ketones in Urine


Ketones in Urine

Ketones are a type of byproduct created when the body breaks down fat for energy. Ketones in urine are most often caused by insufficient insulin levels in the body. As insulin helps to break down sugar from digested food, a lack of it can cause the body to break down fat as fuel instead.

The presence of ketones in the urine is called ketonuria and is considered abnormal. Ketones in urine can be a sign of both diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Therefore, anyone who finds their ketones are elevated in urine samples should consult their doctor immediately.


Ketones in urine are often tested for when diagnosing and monitoring diabetes. To collect a urine sample, your doctor will ask you to fill a special container with a sample of your urine. For a more accurate reading, your urine should be collected in the morning, prior to eating breakfast, as the most recent meal can affect ketones in urine levels.


Your doctor will send your urine sample to a laboratory for testing. The sample will be analyzed for its ketone levels, as well as pH and specific gravity. If ketones are found in the sample, your doctor may require more testing to determine what is causing the increased levels.


  • Acetoacetate (AcAc) - This type of ketone is the most common and the first to appear in the urine.
  • Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) – This type of ketone is produced when the body is under stress and is an indicator of serious illness.
  • Acetone – This type of ketone is produced in smaller amounts and is more rare.


Increased ketone levels can be dangerous, as it can result in a dangerous condition called ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis can have serious health effects, including damage to the organs, difficulty breathing, and seizures. If left untreated, it can be fatal.

Why It Matters

Ketones in urine are important indicators of health. If ketones are found in the urine, it could be a sign of diabetes or another medical condition that requires attention. It is important to see a doctor if ketones are found in the urine.

When to Test

Ketones in urine should be tested for when diagnosing and monitoring diabetes. It may also be tested if a person is experiencing symptoms of high blood sugar such as rapid weight loss, increased thirst, frequent urination, or blurred vision.