Ketone Levels in Blood

Ketone Levels in Blood & How To Check Them?

Have you ever heard about the ketogenic diet? If yes you might as well be a little aware of what are ketone test strips. For those who are not aware about the ketogenic diet, it is a process people use to achieve ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state of the body, where fat gets burned instead of glucose to generate the needed energy. When you are into ketosis, the human body makes a good number of ketones. But how can you say that you are in ketosis? This is when the ketone strips come in. You need these to check the ketone levels in the blood.

The Ketone strips are also known as Ketone Test Strips and these are very thin, paper like strips that help detect the ketones that are present in urine. These strips are quite cheap and are convenient to use. And above all, they provide you with immediate results – just in a matter of seconds. However, the ketone test strips have their drawbacks too and this is what it important for you to know all about them before going ahead with a purchase.

If you are one of those who is curious to know it all about the ketone strips and how these work, just keep reading. We in this guide will learn about ketones, the ketone test strips and how you can use them without any trouble. So, let’s get started. Before we learn about ketone strips, let us try and understand what ketones actually are.

Ketones – What Are They?

Ketones are the molecules that are soluble in water and these are made by the human body when there is an absence of glucose. Ketones include the three molecules

  1. Acetoacetate
  2. Beta Hydroxybutyrate
  3. Acetone

The main purpose of the ketones is to pump up the body with alternate sources of energy. When you are on a regular diet, the carb intake is high and the body produces the fuel from glucose. But in cases of a keto diet, the body gets starved on carbohydrates and it only fuels on fat and a part of it gets turned into ketones.

What Are Ketone Test Strips Used For?

When the levels of these ketones tend to rise in the body, people can make use of the ketone strips to detect their presence in the urine. There are other tests that can be done to detect the ketones levels in the blood and in the breath as well. As the other ways are expensive, most of the people who are on a keto diet make use of ketone strips to test for the levels of ketone.

When we talk about ketone strips, we are talking about very convenient and uncomplicated paper strips that help test for ketones present in the urine. The ketone test strips are easily available over the counter and one can even buy these online without any hassles. If you wish to keep a tab on the blood ketone levels during the ketogenic diet, these are the ones to choose.

The ketone strips were initially developed for people who were suffering from type I diabetes as they are always at a high risk of ketoacidosis. This is a condition where the ketone level reaches the maximum and this makes the blood very acidic.

Ketone Levels in Blood (Low, High, Normal)

If you are a diabetic patient or if you are on a keto diet, it is important you know about the ketone levels in blood for ketosis. The results of how the doctor normally interpret are mentioned below.

  • Normal when it is below 0.5 mmol/L.
  • Nutritional ketosis when the levels are between 0.5 – 3 mmol/L.
  • High ketone levels are when it is over 3 mmol/L.
  • It is considered dangerous when the levels are over 5 mmol/L.

It is also important to note the values that you use on the ketone strips might be different from those that are mentioned above. The ketone strips are read using the colour changes that happen on the strips that are compared to the results mentioned on the colour chart that is again provided as a part of the kit itself.

For example, when measuring the ketone levels in blood using these strips, light pink means that the ketones level in the urine is quite low and the colour dark purple indicate high levels.

How to Check Ketone Levels In Blood?

A home ketone meter can be used to check the level of ketone in the blood. As these are expensive a number of people opt for the ketone strips instead. To do the test yourself, you will make use of a blood ketone meter that includes a lancet pen and the ketone test strips. These meters are also called the “Blood Glucose Test Strips” and are easily available over the counter and online.

It is important to buy the right ketone test strips as more often people confuse these with the glucose test strips that are available and look alike. The glucose test strips cannot be used to test ketone levels. Also, make sure to do the test in the morning as it is the best time to test ketones in the blood.

Step by Step Procedure to Test The Ketone Levels in The Blood

  1. Start by loading the needle into the pen provided. With clean hands, remove the ketone strip from the pack and insert into the lancet pen.
  2. You can follow the procedure mentioned on the pack.
  3. Next, you need to place this pen on your fingertip and press the button provided. You need to make sure that a drop of blood comes out as it needs to load the ketone strip.
  4. Fill the strip with the blood drop and wait for the meter to provide you with the reading.

Now that you know what are ketone test strips and as to how these can be used to check the ketone levels in blood and in urine, it is time you get one for yourself if you are a diabetic patient or if you are following a keto diet.

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad