Ketone strips are strips one uses to check the amount of ketones in their system. For diabetics, this is an important thing to be aware of because moderate to high levels of ketones present may result in Diabetic Ketoacidosis, which is a condition where there is not enough insulin in the body at that point in time. If left untreated, it can result in coma or even death. Signs of higher ketone levels in the blood include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, fruity-smelling breath, or rapid breathing.
Keeping ketones low and testing for them is in the best interest of the diabetic. You use the strips by testing your urine with them by following the instructions in the packaging of the strips you choose, and afterward checking it against the scale provided on the packaging to see the amount of ketones in your body. A negative reading is the best outcome, because it means that there are no ketones present in the blood. Ketones are chemicals produced when when there is a shortage of insulin in the blood, and the body begins to break down fat for energy instead.
Moderate to high levels of ketones in the blood mean that you should immediately start drinking a lot of water to “flush” the ketones from your system, but you should also talk to your doctor as soon as possible if you begin to feel the signs mentioned above in combination with the ketone reading. Otherwise, further complications may occur. Good times to test for ketones are when your blood glucose is more than 300 mg/dl, or if it is around 250 mg/dl and you are about to exercise. You should also test if you begin to feel the signs above, such as nausea or vomiting.
Recently, a diet has come about known as the ketogenic diet. This is a diet that endeavors to keep ketones low in the body in order to maximize health for the body. It is a diet that is high in fats and proteins, while being very low on carbohydrates and sugars. Foods you would eat would include items like seafood, eggs, nuts and seeds, while avoiding anything high in carbohydrates such as pasta, rice, sodas, and candy. A diet like this would be a positive change for both type 1 and type 2 diabetics, although type 1 diabetics would have to be more cautious about their insulin when approaching this diet, because low insulin levels could possibly result in ketoacidosis for them. However, if all done correctly, the diet can help type 1 diabetics gain steady blood sugar levels, and can help type 2 diabetics reduce symptoms.