A urinalysis can be used for many different types of things and many people may falsely assume that the test results are “no big deal”. However, if your physician has found ketones following a urinalysis, there may be reason for concern. Ketones are products of fat metabolism and form when there is a problem with carbohydrates, which can signify a problem within the patient. When ketonuria is diagnosed, there are a few things that could be to blame.
Causes of Ketones in a Urinalysis
There are many reasons why ketones may be found in the urine. Some of the most common may be related to lack of or insufficient insulin in the body and with extreme changes in diet. Changes of diet most likely to affect fat metabolism within the body includes starving the body of the appropriate nutrients, which may be the case for those with certain eating disorders and following a high protein diet. Excessive exercise regimes, extreme changes in temperature such as the cold and loss of carbs from illness can also cause ketones to show up in a urinalysis.
Factors Affecting Ketone Findings in a Urinalysis
There are several different things that can affect whether or not ketones are found in the urine. For example, it is not uncommon for small amounts to be found during pregnancy, following a gastric enteric illness or after prolonged fasting, typically more than eighteen hours. In these cases, it may be normal for small amounts of ketones to be present in the urine and a does not necessary warrant a diagnosis of ketonuria. The physician will more than likely order follow-up tests to confirm such a diagnosis when these circumstances are present. According to Medline Plus, other conditions that may contribute to ketone presence in urine includes burns, fever, hyperthyroidism and lactation.
Although finding trace amounts of ketones during a urinalysis will be fine in some cases, it can also be indicative of a more serious condition. The amount present is also considered of importance when evaluating such findings. Values are evaluated in milligrams per deciliters or mg/dL and are as follows: below 20 is small, between 30-40 is moderate and 80 or above is a large quantity to find. The higher the ketone values in the urine, the likelihood increases that findings are of medical significance.
Ketones-Urine. Medline Plus. U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institute of Health. Updated 30, November 2009. Viewed 7, October 2010. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003585.htm
Urine Test. WebMD. www.webmd.com. 2005-2010. Viewed 7, October 2010. http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/urine-test
Urinalysis. Lab Tests Online. www.labtestsonline.org. Updated 20, July 2009. Viewed 7, October 2010. http://www.labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/urinalysis/ui_exams-2.html