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Ketones

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Updated January 12, 2009

Definition: Ketones are the by-product of using body fat for energy instead of glucose from the foods eaten. Glucose is the fuel normally used to sustain the bodily processes. But those with type 1 diabetes no longer produce insulin to allow glucose access to body cells where it can be used for energy. The body then goes to the next available source of energy: stored body fat. Burning fat produces ketones, which are toxic to body cells. When ketones build up in the blood they are excreted by the kidneys into the urine and can be measured. Sustained high levels of ketones in the body can be fatal.
Pronunciation: pronounced (key tone)
Also Known As: Ketone bodies
Examples:
It is particularly important to check for ketones when you are ill or have sustained high glucose readings for more than 24 hours. Testing for ketones can be done at home with urine test strips.

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