Diabetes News & Articles

Blood ketone testing

If you have Type 1 diabetes, it is important to test for ketones if your blood glucose levels are persistently over 13.8mmol/L, or when you are ill. Some people do this by dipping a test strip in their urine, but other test for blood ketones using a meter.

What are the pros of testing for blood ketones?

  • It gives you a here-and-now result, which means you can take action to bring your diabetes under control. The ketones in your urine were in your blood several hours ago
  • It provides a numerical result rather than a colour comparison, which can be more accurate and easier to read. Blood testing, unlike urine testing, is unaffected by fluid intake
  • If you find urine testing distasteful, blood testing is a quick and easy alternative

How can I test for blood ketones?

The test for blood ketones is the same process as for blood glucose. If blood ketone testing is right for you then your GP can prescribe the appropriate strips.

Who is it useful for?

  • People with Type 1 diabetes
  • Children, who are more likely to develop DKA quickly and who it might be difficult to collect urine
  • Insulin pumpers, as DKA can develop rapidly if the pump fails
  • Pregnant women, who can also develop DKA quickly, which can seriously affect both their own health and that of their baby

Blood ketone testing doesn’t replace blood glucose testing – it can be used alongside it. If you think it could help you manage your diabetes better, talk to your healthcare team.


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