DKA testing

I’ve been reading (book, forum) about DKA and, ahem, it sounds like something we should know about… But don’t.
I understand that one can test with strips - both blood and urine.
Can anyone tell me how often or when or why one would do this test? Should it be an everyday thing? V doesn’t have a pancreas so there is no chance of any insulin production…
Also, can anyone tell me the proper name of the strips so I can ask at our pharmacy? We are in France so I can’t have a long chat with the pharmacist… my medical French not being quite up to that - although it’s improving rapidly…
V is going back in hospital next week so I’m trying to put together a list of questions and requests to see if we can’t get this whole thing under control (kind of) Thanks
And thanks to everyone so far for all the wonderful info I’ve been getting.

I’ve been told to test for ketones in urin when bs is over 240 mg/dl. A DKA is a result of a lack of insulin in the basic provision of the body, so it occurs when a shoot of basal insulin has not been given (forgoten or pen didn’t work)/pump didn’t work. It would not occur if the basal provision is covered and one does only eat to much and gets a high bs from that. So if you know your husband is high from eating to much or because of a backlash of the liver after a low, you wouldn’t have to test for ketone, but If you don’t know why he’s high, you should. You always should test at a high bs when he is sick (flu or something, because the body has a higher need of insulin then) and before doing sports though (because if you’re getting into a beginning DKA sports really doesn’t improve the situation)!

Having ketones does not yet mean a DKA, but it can or might be a sign for a ketose which might lead to a DKA. You should have a treatment plan of your doctor for this case.
If you have a lack of insulin the liver starts to take over the provision with glucose which than has to be gotten from fat particles. Ketone is a by-product from this, which is, in large abundances, poisonous to the body.

My test strips are “Ketostix” by Bayer. I’m from Germany, so I don’t know if they are available in France, but the printings on the box and the instructions are also in french and english, so there should be a chance. Here’s at least a french subtitle saying “Bandelettes réactives pour analyse d’urine” (Reagent Strips for Urinanalysis) and it seems that the french word for ketone is Corps cétoniques.

Hope this helps!
Best to you and V!

Hi Katie,

Is V testing his BG regularly using a meter? (Not sure what you mean by test strips for blood.) He should be testing & recording his BG first thing in the morning, before each meal, two hours after meals & right before bed. If he feels low or high, he should test. People also test before driving distances & before/during/after strenuous exercise.

If BG is over 240, it’s advisable to test for ketones in the urine using ketone strips. You don’t have to do this unless BG is high. Ketostix is one brand. Drinking a lot of water, taking a correction dose of insulin & keep testing to see if BG is coming down.

DKA is very scary, but by matching insulin properly to carbs (which takes constant adjustment) & eating sensibly, it can be avoided.

Thanks for the info - especially the French word.
Now, hopefully, I’ll be able to talk to one of the doc’s about it next week.
French doctors kind of have the ‘just do what I tell you and don’t ask questions’ attitude… which I don’t think will work very well for diabetes… From what I’m learning it pretty unique to each person.

In the book I’m reading it says that you can either test urine or blood. I know nothing more that what I read, at the moment. He does test regularly. I was even making him get up in the middle of the night for awhile, as he was getting lows around 4am. We eat late, so he doesn’t test after dinner / before bedtime.

This must mean testing using his meter for highs, which he’s doing anyway. Hard for his doctor to know if insulin is correctly matched to food & to know basal rates (regarding morning fasting BG) without after-dinner/before bed testing. It’s best to eat dinner 4 hours before bed to be sure food is digested & to correct any possible highs.

It is important to test for ketones when the sugar is above 240 mg/dL, definitely, but ALSO any time he is sick or has an infection. He could be having normal blood sugars and still not flushing the ketones from his system.

Ketones aren’t an everyday occurrence for diabetics, but they’re frequent enough for most of us not to take them for granted. I was diagnosed in a coma from DKA and almost died at age 10. So I take ketones seriously. If the urine strips show his ketones to be above a trace or small amount, flushing his system with water and taking extra insulin is the only way to combat it. I would also call his physician if he’s producing large ketones that can’t be brought down with insulin after several hours or if he is throwing up.

Ketones change the pH of your blood, making your blood unsustainable for organ functioning. That’s why they’re so dangerous. It can cause lung failure, coma, and death if not treated, as I’m sure you read.

There are blood meters (at least in the U.S.) that can read ketone levels. I’ve never used one, but I think there’s one called the Precision and it’s manufactured by Abbott.

Thanks for the info. I’m a little concerned that I wouldn’t have known about this if I hadn’t been doing my own research. I have to say, the French medical system is excellent, and they tend to go overboard in their care and treatment… but they also tend to keep the patients in the dark. Kind of an "I’ll take care of you, don’t worry about it’ attitude.

There is a meter (Presicion Xtra) that tests for ketones in blood, but the ketone strips are often difficult to track down, and it’s benefit is really more with young kids where you can’t always rely on them to pee on command.

When I have ketones, I really just want a “yes” or “no” answer when I test for them (90% of the time because I’m sick, not high)… so the urine strips are enough for me :slight_smile:

Thanks, Sarah… I think I can get the hubs to ‘pee on command’ ;-))