Beta-Hydroxybutyrate Blood Test
The Beta-Hydroxybutyrate test measures the amount of beta-hydroxybutyrate in your blood to help diagnose diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
This test measures beta-hydroxybutyrate levels in your blood to help diagnose diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Beta-Hydroxybutyrate is a ketone, a substance your body produces when your cells don't get enough glucose (blood sugar). Glucose is your body's primary source of energy. However, when there is a deficiency, your body relies on stored fat to fuel itself. The liver breaks down the fat into a fuel called ketones.
Ketones are usually produced by the liver when the body breaks down fat after a long time since your last meal. The muscles and the heart typically use these ketones. However, when ketones are produced too quickly and build up in the blood, they can become harmful by making the blood acidic. This life-threatening condition is known as ketoacidosis.
DKA is a severe condition that mainly affects individuals with type 1 diabetes and sometimes those with type 2 diabetes. DKA causes abnormally high levels of ketones and glucose to be released into the urine by the kidneys to expel the toxins from the body.
Signs or symptoms of DKA may also include:
- Increased urination
- Dry skin
- Rapid breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Fruity scent to the breath
- In some cases, a diabetic coma
Individuals may order this test if they have experienced the symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis or to screen for DKA development in high-risk individuals.
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