Diabetes: Choosing and Using Your Glucose Meter (cont.)
If you have any other disease that can change your serum proteins or if you have large amounts of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in your diet, these tests may give wrong values.
Urine and Blood Ketones
If you do not have diabetes, you usually have only small amounts of ketones in your blood and urine. If you have diabetes, however, you may have high amounts of ketones and acid, a condition known as ketoacidosis. This condition can cause nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain and can be life threatening.
You may use urine dipsticks to rapidly and easily measure the ketones in your urine. You dip a dipstick in your urine and follow the instruction on the package to see if you have a high amount of ketones.
If you have type 1 diabetes, are pregnant with preexisting diabetes, or who have diabetes caused by pregnancy (gestational diabetes), you should check your urine for ketones. If you have diabetes and are ill, under stress, or have any symptoms of high ketones, you should also test your urine for ketones.
Results of ketone testing should be interpreted with care. High ketone levels are found when patients are pregnant (in the first morning urine sample), starving, or recovering from a hypoglycemic episode.
There are now tests for measuring ketones in blood that your doctor may use or you can use at home. Some measure a specific ketone (beta-hydroxybuyric acid) that patients with diabetic ketoacidosis may have.
It is still not known which type of ketone test -blood or urine-- offers more aid to people with diabetes.
Many urine dipsticks are used to test for large amounts of albumin. To measure a small amount of albumin, which may show an early stage of kidney disease, your health care provider may use specific tests for low levels of albumin (microalbumin tests). To do this test, you may have to collect your urine for several 24-hour periods.
The ADA recommends that adults with diabetes be tested for microalbumin every 3- to 6-months. The ADA recommends testing in children with type 1 diabetes at puberty or after having diabetes for 5 years.
Early detection of microalbumin is important because it indicates increased risk for both renal and vascular disease. Fortunately, early detection allows for treatments that may delay the beginning of a more serious disease.
Last Editorial Review: 1/4/2005