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What Is a Ketosis Test?

A blood ketosis test offers immediate accuracy.
A urine sample is required for some ketosis tests.
A urine test strip is used in one of the simpler ketosis tests.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 04 April 2014
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A ketosis test is a lab test conducted to check for signs of ketone bodies, also known as ketones, chemical compounds produced by the body when it is burning fat for energy rather than relying on stored sugars. In addition to being done in a lab, a ketosis test can also be performed very rapidly and easily at home. Drugstores and pharmacies often carry ketosis testing supplies and they may also be supplied by a doctor if the physician wants a patient to monitor for ketosis at home.

Ketosis is most often a diet-induced state. When people do not intake enough carbohydrates or burn carbohydrates at a very rapid rate, their bodies cannot convert the carbohydrates into stored sugars. As a result, the body turns to other sources of energy, including dietary fat and body fat. The process of converting fat into a form usable by the body generates ketones. Eventually, ketones will be excreted into the urine. People in ketosis tend to have strong smelling urine and can have bad breath as well.

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This state can be dangerous for people with certain medical conditions, but in other cases, it is actually deliberately induced. Some diets for people with seizure conditions use ketosis to control seizures, and it is also a component of some weight loss diets, with the goal of forcing the body to tap into dietary fat for energy, thereby losing weight. A ketosis test may be recommended for someone to identify and avoid ketosis, or for someone to monitor controlled ketosis.

One of the simplest types of ketosis test involves dipping a test strip in a urine sample or urinating on a test strip. The test strip includes an absorbent pad with a chemical that will react with any ketone bodies present in the urine, changing color. People can check for signs of ketones in the urine and may be able to estimate their concentration on the basis of how much the color changes.

A blood test can also be used. One advantage of a blood ketosis test is immediate accuracy, as it can take some time for ketones to show up in the urine once they start appearing in the body. A blood ketosis test will require a small blood sample from the patient and can commonly be done in a simple lab at a doctor's office or pharmacy. Blood samples can also be sent out to a lab if there is no rush on results.

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