Beta Hydroxybutyrate Levels

Submitted by Nick on October 16, 2012

Ketoacidosis is a condition where the body has insufficient insulin and is therefore unable to absorb blood sugar. At the same time, the body has produced ketones to help with the breakdown of fats to produce energy. When there is high blood sugar and high accumulation of ketones in the blood, it is considered to be dangerous and can be life threatening as well.

Beta hydroxybutyrate is one of the ketones produced in the body. These are acidic in nature and are produced when there is insulin deficiency in the body. People suffering from type 1 diabetes will suffer from insulin deficiency. This can cause ketones to be produced. The measurement of beta hydroxybutyrate levels is therefore significant when treating diabetic patients. Other conditions that can cause high beta hydroxybutyrate levels include starvation, continuous vomiting and other digestive problems where food is not properly absorbed into the system leading to a situation similar to starvation. Also see beta hydroxybutyrate normal values

During periods of starvation, the body produces ketones to help with the breakdown of fat for metabolism. One type of ketone, acetoacetate may become concentrated in the body during this time. This substance is converted to beta hydroxybutyrate in the blood but some of it is converted to acetone. Acetone is the substance used in nail polish removers as well. One may get the taste or smell of acetone in the breath when one is suffering from ketoacidosis.

A constant check on the beta hydroxybutyrate levels or the beta hydroxybutyrate count is helpful when dealing with patients of diabetes. It can help to analyze and pinpoint the patient’s condition to the extent that the patient can be treated faster and much more accurately than would otherwise be possible. In many cases, people who have recently developed diabetes are admitted to hospital with problems associated with ketoacidosis. In such patients, the measurement of beta hydroxybutyrate levels can be done in order to monitor the condition and help with treatment. Once such a condition has been diagnosed, it is quite easy for the patient to introduce artificial insulin into his or her body to prevent the condition where blood sugar levels are high but the body is starved of nutrition. A diabetic can monitor the effectiveness of the insulin supplements using a test of the beta hydroxybutyrate levels. This test for checking the beta hydroxybutyrate range will be useful to establish whether the treatment is working properly or not. The beta hydroxybutyrate test is extremely important to ensure that the patient is not suffering from serious problems associated with ketoacidosis.

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