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Diabetes: Urine Testing for Ketones

Ketones in the urine mean that the body cells are using fat for energy instead of glucose. A large amount of ketones in the urine is a danger sign and can mean the start of a serious illness. Call your child's doctor or nurse educator if your child has a large amount of ketones in his/her urine. Things that can cause the urine ketone to be positive are:
  • too much food
  • injury or illness
  • too little insulin
  • infection
  • dehydration
  • certain medicines

Urine is Tested for Ketones:

  • Whenever your child does not feel well.
  • If your child's blood glucose is greater than 300 (or as directed by your child's doctor).
Your child's doctor will tell you how often you should check your child's urine for ketones.

To Collect a Urine Sample:

  • Have your child urinate (void) into a clean container or on the test strip.
NOTE: If your child wears a diaper, try placing cotton balls in the diaper and squeeze the urine on the test strip.

What You Will Need:

  • Fresh urine sample
  • Ketone strip
  • Pen or pencil
  • Record Book
  • Clock or watch with a second hand
  • Ketone strip color chart

Procedure Using Strip Method:

There are different kinds of strips that can be used to check for ketones in the urine. Several kinds are Ketostix®, and Ketodiastix®,. Read the instructions on your brand. You may want to ask your pharmacy to order individually wrapped strips because opened bottles expire in 90 days.
  1. Check the date on the bottle to be sure the strips are not expired.
  2. Dip the strip into the urine.
  3. Wait for the amount of time stated for the type of strip you are using.
  4. Compare the color of the strip with the color chart.
  5. Record your results, date, and time in record book.
  6. Throw away urine and strip.
  7. Call your doctor or nurse educator if you have moderate or large ketones.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 07/2008