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What Causes High Potassium In Dka?

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Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Print Overview Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious complication of diabetes that occurs when your body produces high levels of blood acids called ketones. The condition develops when your body can't produce enough insulin. Insulin normally plays a key role in helping sugar (glucose) — a major source of energy for your muscles and other tissues — enter your cells. Without enough insulin, your body begins to break down fat as fuel. This process produces a buildup of acids in the bloodstream called ketones, eventually leading to diabetic ketoacidosis if untreated. If you have diabetes or you're at risk of diabetes, learn the warning signs of diabetic ketoacidosis — and know when to seek emergency care. Symptoms Diabetic ketoacidosis signs and symptoms often develop quickly, sometimes within 24 hours. For some, these signs and symptoms may be the first indication of having diabetes. You may notice: Excessive thirst Frequent urination Nausea and vomiting Abdominal pain Weakness or fatigue Shortness of breath Fruity-scented breath Confusion More-specific signs of diabetic ketoacidosis — which can be detected through home blood and urine testing kits — include: High blood sugar l Continue reading >>

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Popular Questions

  1. metalmd06

    Does acute DKA cause hyperkalemia, or is the potassium normal or low due to osmotic diuresis? I get the acute affect of metabolic acidosis on potassium (K+ shifts from intracellular to extracellular compartments). According to MedEssentials, the initial response (<24 hours) is increased serum potassium. The chronic effect occuring within 24 hours is a compensatory increase in Aldosterone that normalizes or ultimatley decreases the serum K+. Then it says on another page that because of osmotic diuresis, there is K+ wasting with DKA. On top of that, I had a question about a diabetic patient in DKA with signs of hyperkalemia. Needless to say, I'm a bit confused. Any help is appreciated.

  2. FutureDoc4

    I remember this being a tricky point:
    1) DKA leads to a decreased TOTAL body K+ (due to diuresis) (increase urine flow, increase K+ loss)
    2) Like you said, during DKA, acidosis causes an exchange of H+/K+ leading to hyperkalemia.
    So, TOTAL body K+ is low, but the patient presents with hyperkalemia. Why is this important? Give, insulin, pushes the K+ back into the cells and can quickly precipitate hypokalemia and (which we all know is bad). Hope that is helpful.

  3. Cooolguy

    DKA-->Anion gap M. Acidosis-->K+ shift to extracellular component--> hyperkalemia-->symptoms and signs
    DKA--> increased osmoles-->Osmotic diuresis-->loss of K+ in urine-->decreased total body K+ (because more has been seeped from the cells)
    --dont confuse total body K+ with EC K+
    Note: osmotic diuresis also causes polyuria, ketonuria, glycosuria, and loss of Na+ in urine--> Hyponatremia
    DKA tx: Insulin (helps put K+ back into cells), and K+ (to replenish the low total potassium
    Hope it helps

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