A quick guide to ketones for T1Ds


ketones pic
Image credit: Angela Stevens

When I was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes I had what is called diabetic ketoacidosis. Before this happened, I was constantly peeing; I had no appetite; I was extremely thirsty; I had become skin and bones; and would have died if I hadn’t been flown in an emergency helicopter to Loma Linda University Hospital.

Ketones are deadly and are often misdiagnosed by medical professionals as the flu.

#1 What are ketones?

Ketones are unhealthy and potentially deadly acids in the bloodstream.
People can develop ketones when:
*You have have high blood sugars
*Miss a dose of insulin
*Fail to give the correct amount of insulin
*Develop a cold or flu
*Exercise with a high blood sugar

Note: A healthy amount of ketones for a diabetic to have is none.

#2 How do they impact your body?

Ketones impact every part of your body.
Ketones make you:
*Lose weight in a short amount of time
*Extremely tired
*Extremely thirsty
*Give you a fever

#3 What to do when you have them?

*Drink a lot of water to flush out the ketones
*Treat yourself as if you have a cold or flu

  • Do not go to school or work
  • Try to eat bland foods that will not upset your stomache

*Give yourself a correcting dose of insulin

    A) Guide to giving yourself a correcting dose of insulin
(The amount of insulin may vary from person to person. This is my personal guide for myself) 1-5 ketones = 1 extra unit of insulin; 5-15 ketones = 3 units of insulin; anything higher, go to the ER for DKA. If you have vomited go to the hospital immediately for diabetes ketoacidosis. You may not have ketoacidosis but it is better to be safe than to be sorry. Diabetes ketoacidosis is deadly and needs to be treated immediately. Note: You do not have to eat a meal to give yourself a correcting dose of insulin.

#4 What never to do when you have them?

Do not:
*Do not exercise because it will increase the amount of ketones you have in your body
*Do not eat anything that has a high sugar; or high carb content
*Do not drink anything that contains sugar or carbohydrates

#5 How to check if you have ketones?

You check to see if you have ketones by buying a ketone sticks. They can be purchased at almost any drugstore and online. All you do is simply pee on the stick; it changes color; and then you use the color guide to reveal how many ketones you have.

On another note

Ketones are the devil! They have taken the lives of many diabetics. If you notice that your blood sugars keep staying high for no reason then please, get in the habit of checking your ketone levels on a daily basis.



Author: Angie

After spending a year in Sydney, Australia, interning, selling chocolate, partying, making friends, and dating; I realized post-grad, that I still had no f****** idea what I want to do with my life. This website/blog is for those of us trying to navigate life without a clear goal or destination in mind.

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