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November 14, 2002

Diagnosis and Symptoms

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Question from England:

My daughter took a sample of her one year old daughter’s urine to the doctor where said it had to go for further tests because it contained ketones. My grandchild has not been eating very well ever since she was weaned and this week she has lost weight rather than gained it. Are ketones a definite sign of diabetes or could it be something else?

Answer:

Without sugar (glucose), ketones are simply a sign of poor eating and are a result of the metabolism of fat to act as an alternative fuel. This is a perfectly normal finding provided the level is not too high. It is possible, however that your granddaughter need tests because she’s not eating, but she doesn’t have diabetes.

KJR