The body metabolizes carbohydrates, proteins and fats to generate energy meant for various metabolic and enzymatic activities within the cells. Carbohydrates are metabolized on priority for production of energy, followed by fats and proteins.
When the body generates higher proportions of energy from the metabolizing of fats or fatty acids, ketone bodies (a waste product of this metabolic activity) get accumulated in the body.
Ketones are eliminated through the kidneys and hence urine tests are performed to estimate the presence of excessive ketones in the body. Under normal conditions, the concentration of ketone bodies in urine is less than 20 mg/dl. Higher values are indicative of abnormally high levels of ketones in urine, thereby indicative of a condition referred to as ketoacidosis.
Causes Of Ketones In Urine
The presence of ketones in urine can be classified into small, moderate or large, depending upon the concentrations. Here are some of the causes for ketones in urine,
- The primary cause of ketones in urine is diabetic ketoacidosis, which affects individuals with Type I diabetes. These individuals are unable to metabolize sugars for energy and hence fat is used.
- Abnormal nutrition caused due to conditions like fasting, high protein and low fat diets, starvation and anorexia can also lead to presence of ketones in urine.
- Lactation and pregnancy are two physiological conditions that are linked with ketones in urine.
- High grade fevers or third degree burns can also lead to ketones in urine.
- Other causes include disorders of increased metabolism and acute illness.
Symptoms Of Ketones In Urine
Presence of ketones in urine may not have any specific symptoms; however a host of symptoms may be present, depending upon the underlying causative condition,
- The condition is often associated with elevated blood sugar levels (i.e. higher than 240 mg/dl). Elevated blood sugar levels are often linked with non healing ulcers, neuropathies and higher risk of cardiovascular disorders and strokes.
- Ketones may be present with severe illness including pneumonia, heart attacks or strokes. The symptoms include breathlessness, chest pain, fever, malaise, etc.
- Nausea and vomiting are present in most of the cases.
How To Reduce Ketones In Urine?
The primary treatment is aimed at treating the underlying cause linked with the condition. In most cases, treating the underlying cause can reduce the presence of ketones in urine. Here are some useful tips,
- Avoid abnormal dietary practices and simple dietary modifications can help reduce ketones in urine. Increase the intake of simple carbohydrates and limit the intake of fats. In individuals on high protein and low carbohydrate diet, talk to your physician to understand better options.
- Lactating mothers and pregnant females are recommended to ensure that their diet is well balanced. Inadequacy in carbohydrates can lead to ketones in urine. Ensure intake of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, cereals, dairy products in balanced proportions.
- Cinnamon is known to improve the absorption of sugar by body cells, even in absence of insulin. Consuming about 2-3 grams of cinnamon after a meal can be very beneficial among diabetics. However faulty diet can lead to hypoglycemic attacks.
- Regular exercises and yoga can help stabilize the metabolism in the body and thereby improve overall balance between carbohydrate and fat metabolism. It is recommended to exercise for about 15 minutes, four times a week.