Acetone & Diabetes

For the diabetic, the presence of acetone in the urine is a warning that needs quick response in order to prevent ketoacidosis, a potentially fatal condition. Diabetics can avoid acetone buildup by practicing good diabetic management.


Cells use glucose for fuel. According to WebMD, if there is not enough glucose in our bloodstream, the body attempts to make up for the lack by producing hormones to break down fat. Acetone is a byproduct of this fat-burning process (called ketosis). Acetone is a toxic chemical.

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Insulin is necessary to transform glucose for use at the cellular level. The diabetic may have plenty of glucose in her blood but not enough insulin, which causes ketosis. If acetone levels become too high in a diabetic, the result is diabetic ketoacidosis.


Mayo Clinic notes that symptoms of ketosis include fatigue, weakness, excessive thirst, shortness of breath and a unique, fruity scent to the breath. Obviously, specific signs of diabetic ketoacidosis are high blood sugar levels and high ketone levels in urine.


Treatment typically requires a brief hospital admission for insulin replacement and fluids to help dilute sugar in the bloodstream and restore electrolyte imbalance.


Take medications as prescribed. Follow your diet closely. Monitor blood sugar levels and adjust insulin as directed by your physicians. Kits are also available to check for ketones in urine.

For the diabetic