Ketones are organic molecules that are created with the joining of an oxygen atom and a carbon atom. This double bond or compound found in organic chemistry is produced when the body engages in the task of breaking down fat in the body, functioning as an acid. Levels in the system increase when there is an absence of enough insulin to allow glucose to permeate the cells of the body. Stress can also cause the number of ketones produced to rise. When an unhealthy number of ketones are generated on a continual basis, this leads to a health condition known as ketosis.
Another factor that can trigger an excess production of the molecules has to do with stress. Prolonged and intense periods of stress may lead to more stress hormones showing up in the body and passing into the urine. This can in turn impact the amount of insulin available for processing glucose and trigger the production of more ketones to break down the fat and create energy.
The presence of too many ketones in the system indicates that the body’s ability to manufacture insulin has become seriously impaired. For this reason, ketone levels are monitored closely in people who suffer with diabetes. The measurement can be very important in determining how much insulin the diabetic patient must take in order to restore some semblance of balance. By injecting insulin into the body, the production is returned to a safer level.
When ketone production is not kept within balance, a number of health risks can develop. The individual may begin to experience periods of passing out with no apparent warning, become forgetful or experience short periods of disorientation. If the balance is not addressed, the condition can eventually lead to a coma or even death.
Fortunately, there are effective ways to measure the levels of ketone compounds in the body. Blood samples can be tested to determine if the number of ketones in the system is within acceptable limits. In between tests, using a blood glucose monitor to determine how well the body is functioning in terms of allowing glucose to enter the cells and create energy can give some idea of whether or not ketone levels are rising. When the blood glucose readings are within acceptable limits at one and two hours after a meal, that is an indication the ketones are not overproducing and the glucose is being absorbed properly.
When diagnosed with ketosis, patients should make sure to follow any instructions issued by the attending physician. The course of treatment may include oral medications as well as changes in diet and exercise in an attempt to restore balance to the body.