High Ketones Normal Blood Sugar-Is it Life-threatening or OK?

You may have heard the terms Ketones, Keto-diets, Ketosis, DKA often if you have diabetes. Ketones may seem enigmatic for us. But it’s something that every conscious individual should know about.

A person with high blood sugar is more likely to have high ketones as well. However, it’s possible to have conditions like high ketones normal blood sugar. 

Are you satisfied with your blood sugar level; however, worried about high ketone as well? Let me help you to break the enigma and offer you some proven ways to keep yourself up.

So, Let’s begin.

high ketones normal blood sugar
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High Ketones Normal Blood Sugar- Is It Possible?

Usually, high ketones with normal blood sugars are not commonly seen. But in some cases, ketones can increase without a rise in blood sugar levels. 

Sometimes low-carb diets can cause your body to go into a state of starvation. This may induce Ketosis. Again, alcoholism, drug abuse, hyperactive thyroid disorders can lead to Ketosis and Ketoacidosis.

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What Do High Ketones Mean?

High ketones are a term that most people with diabetes and pre-diabetes are familiar with. It is the condition of the body when the amount of ketones increases in blood. 

It is also called Ketosis. The reason for that is the metabolism of fat due to the lack of available carbohydrates.

People with diabetes can’t produce enough insulin to absorb the glucose present in the blood. For this reason, the body looks for alternate sources of energy. 

This energy is acquired by breaking down fats and producing ketones. Through a biochemical process called ketogenesis, fat is metabolized into ketones. These ketones are then used as a fuel source for the body.

Thus, the level of ketones in the blood rises. But high ketones normal blood sugar can also be life-threatening. 

Uncontrolled ketogenesis may cause Diabetic Ketoacidosis or DKA. In some cases, you can see high ketones with normal blood sugar. This is called non-diabetic ketoacidosis or euglycemic diabetic ketoacidosis

So it’s important to keep an eye on your blood ketone level, especially if you have diabetes or have prediabetes. 

Ketosis and Ketoacidosis

Ketosis and Ketoacidosis may sound similar but are two different things. 

Ketosis refers to the presence of ketones in the blood. This is not harmful. On the other hand, ketoacidosis is a life-threatening condition caused by abnormally high amounts of ketones in the blood.

The main difference between ketoacidosis vs. ketosis is that one is harmful while the other is not in accord with the concentration of ketones in the blood. 

Ketosis is the result of ketogenesis. It is the process by which fats stored in the body are converted into ketones. Ketones are an acidic derivative of fatty acids. The body can utilize this as fuel. 

Ketosis occurs when there is a shortage in the supply of carbohydrates. This can happen during starvation or if on a low-carb diet. Taking too much alcohol may also cause an increase in the number of ketones in the blood. 

Short-term ketosis is generally safe and does not cause any complications. These ketones are used up by the body for energy and are harmless. So the high ketones normal blood sugar is not always life-threatening. 

Ketoacidosis or DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis) is a complication of diabetes mellitus. Untreated type-1 diabetes may cause a severe increase in ketones in the blood. 

An abnormal amount of ketones cause the blood to turn acidic. This can change the normal functioning of vital organs such as the lungs, liver, kidneys, etc. 

The criteria for DKA consists of various factors. Illness, imbalanced diets, uncontrolled diabetes, improper insulin dosage, etc., can lead to ketoacidosis. Diabetic Ketoacidosis may also develop in type-2 diabetes patients who have limited or no insulin production.

Are Ketones Related to High Blood Sugar?

There is a strong interrelation between high blood sugar and high ketones. Ketosis is the higher than normal presence of ketones in the blood. 

Ketones are produced by a biochemical process called Ketogenesis. Ketones are formed in the body when there is a shortage of glucose. During starvation, ketones supply the body with an alternative source of energy. 

Ketosis also occurs during diabetes, but the cause is different. In Diabetes mellitus, the body cannot absorb the sugars obtained from the digestion of carbohydrates. So the unabsorbed sugar remains in the blood causing high blood sugar. 

At the same time, the body faces a shortage of glucose and initiates the process of ketogenesis. So, normally high blood sugar and high blood ketones are seen at the same time.

How to Tell If You Have High Ketones?

It is very important to look out for the symptoms of high ketones. Many of these symptoms are early signs of ketoacidosis. So, you can prevent the fatal outcomes of ketoacidosis before they get out of hand. 

Ketones can be measured easily by a blood test. The normal range for ketones in the blood is lower than 0.6 mmol/L. The risk of DKA increases if the level crosses 3 mmol/L. 

Many glucose meters can also measure ketones as well as blood sugar. A ketone breath analyzer can also detect ketones in the breath. In the case of ketosis, ketones escape from the lungs in the form of acetone. Ketone breath analyzers can pick this up. 

If high ketones are not controlled, it can lead to ketoacidosis. It is important to know the signs of ketoacidosis for early diagnosis and treatment. These symptoms are:

  • Dehydration
  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination 
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Flushing of skin
  • Bad breath
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble breathing
  • Confusion

Another sign of abnormally high ketones is Ketonuria. Ketonuria is the presence of ketones in the urine. Ketones can pass into the urine if they are in very high concentration on the blood. The symptoms of ketones in urine are the same as ketosis. A urine test can easily identify these ketones. 

What is the Treatment for High Ketones?

Normally if your ketone levels are a bit high, you don’t need any treatment. High ketone caused by starvation or a low-carb diet normally corrects itself. 

However, if your ketone levels are dangerously high, you need immediate medical attention. Extremely high ketone levels turn the blood acidic. This leads to ketoacidosis and may even result in death.

The treatments to reverse ketoacidosis are:

Fluid Replacement

Fluids are supplied either orally or intravenously. These fluids help replenish the water lost through urination. It also helps to dilute the blood and improve its buffer capacity. This helps to reduce the acidity of the blood.

Electrolyte Replacement 

Electrolytes are minerals like sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium essential for physiological functions. They also help to restore the buffer capacity of the blood.

Insulin Therapy

For diabetic patients, Insulin therapy is given. Insulin reduces blood sugar levels and reverses ketogenesis. It inhibits the production of ketones and thus reverts ketoacidosis. 

In such cases, insulin is administered intravenously. The therapy is continued until blood sugar returns to normal.

If you are facing any symptoms of ketoacidosis, contact your doctor. In case of any severe complications, seek emergency medical attention.

How to Prevent High Ketones?

Preventing ketosis is the most effective way to avoid high ketones and ketoacidosis. For most people, this means controlling diabetes and preventing high blood sugar. 

Non-diabetic people can prevent ketosis by a healthy diet and lifestyle changes. Thus, you will have a less hard time in high ketones normal blood sugar condition. 

If you have diabetes, ketones should be as high a priority as blood sugar. If you have diabetes, there’s a lot you can do to prevent high ketones.

The ways you can prevent high ketone levels are as follows:

Managing Diabetes

High blood sugar leads to high ketones. So management of diabetes is crucial. Follow your daily routine. Avoid sugar and carbs. Keep your intake of carbohydrates balanced. 

Take your medicine in time. Take part in physical activities to stay healthy and keep blood sugar low. 

If you need help in keeping blood sugar down, check out Blood Sugar Premier. It’s one of your favorite blood sugar management solutions. 

Keep an Eye on Blood Sugar Level

High levels of blood sugar for a prolonged period can cause ketogenesis. So it is important to monitor blood sugar levels closely. High blood sugar inevitably leads to high ketones. 

Check your blood sugar level regularly. You may need to check it two to four times a day, depending on your condition. 

Photo by pamula133 from Pixabay

Check Your Insulin

Be wary of the dosage and effectiveness of the insulin you are taking. If your insulin isn’t providing expected results, talk to your doctor. 

Adjusting the dosage may help improve the performance of insulin. Also, make sure the insulin you are taking is within the date of validity.

Be Vigilant

Always be prepared to act quickly. Look out for the early symptoms of ketoacidosis. Make sure you have an emergency contact within reach at all times. It’s important to know when to go to the hospital for high ketones.

Remember to seek medical attention if you face any disturbances or complications during your treatment. Do not attempt to take any measures without consulting your doctor. Never change or stop your medication without the advice of your physician.

Flush Out Ketones From Your Body in No Time

FAQ

Can you have normal blood sugar and high ketones?

It is possible to have normal blood sugar with high ketones. It may be caused by starvation or a low-carbohydrate diet.

What to do when ketones are high in diabetes?

The first and foremost thing to do is to reduce blood sugar levels. Taking insulin will help in reducing both sugar and ketones in the blood.

Why are there ketones in my urine?

Ketosis is the presence of abnormally high amounts of ketones in the blood. These ketones can appear in the urine. This is called Ketonuria.

Conclusion

So as you can see, high ketones can affect anyone, with or without diabetes. It is possible to have high ketones normal blood sugar.

By following the above steps as described, you can prevent high ketones and ketoacidosis. The main takeaway is that ketones are normally good for you. A proper diet with enough carbs and maintaining blood sugar levels can help keep ketones in control. 

I'm a medical student from Bangladesh. As a doctor in the making, I'm fascinated by the regular advancements of medical science. This fuels my passion for trying to follow a health-conscious lifestyle. I love writing and sharing thoughts and ideas. I hope that my work can reach out and help people to enjoy a healthy, happy life. Muhtasim Munir MBBS (3rd year) Armed Forces Medical College

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