Back to Ask the Diabetes Team Ask the Diabetes Team

From Kentucky, USA:

We have seen moderate to large amounts of ketones in our son while sick and no high blood sugars (mostly below 60 mg/dl [3.3 mmol/L]). Can ketones appear with low blood sugars ? Do they have the same significance as ketones from high blood sugar? How do you get rid of them? Can ketones build up in the body even with controlled blood sugars?


Yes! Ketones are produced primarily when the body uses fat for fuel rather than sugar. Therefore, folks with diabetes can become ketotic because of the lack of insulin which no longer allows them to use glucose sugar efficiently for fuel. In this condition, the degree of ketones can progress to a clinical situation called DKA [diabetic ketoacidosis] which can be deadly.

Diminished body stores of sugar (called glycogen), which are used up quickly in such situations such as illnesses or starvation, can also lead to fat-for-fuel metabolism which can lead to ketone production. In this situation, glucose levels are not elevated and may in fact be low. This is generally not thought of as life-threatening when this type of short-term ketosis appears.


Original posting 7 Jun 2002
Posted to Other


  Home Return to Top

Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:34
This Internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. If you have any concerns about your own health or the health of your child, you should always consult with a physician or other health care professional.

This site is published by T-1 Today, Inc. (d/b/a Children with Diabetes), a 501c3 not-for-profit organization, which is responsible for its contents.
By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use, Legal Notice, and Privacy Policy.
© Children with Diabetes, Inc. 1995-2015. Comments and Feedback.