DKA & Ketones

Am I in DKA? How to Read Urine Ketone Test Strips Results

Here are tips on how to read the results of a urine ketone test and know if you are in diabetic ketoacidosis, and if you are, what you should do.

Reading on Test Strip:  Normal (negative results) (no color change)

What it Means:  Results are negative; there are no ketones in your urine. Your body is handling blood glucose well and not spilling excess glucose out into urine.

Action to Take:  No need to call doctor. Keep up the good work managing your blood glucose!


Reading on Test Strip:  Small Ketone Level; Usually, <20 mg/dL

What it Means: You are spilling small amounts of ketones into your urine. Try drinking more, and check your blood glucose levels. Give a correction bolus of insulin if you are too high.

Action to Take:  Call doctor if small ketones remain present more than a day, or begin to increase.


Reading on Test Strip:  Moderate Ketone Level; Usually, 30-40 mg/dL

What it Means: Ketones are spilling into your urine. You may need more insulin and could be entering DKA.

Action to Take:  Call the doctor as soon as possible.


Reading on Test Strip:  Large; Usually, >80 mg/dL

What it Means: Dangerous levels of ketones are present and you may require emergency medical treatment.

Action to Take:  Call the doctor immediately.