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What Lab Values Indicate Diabetic Ketoacidosis?

Understanding Your Lab Test Results

Understanding Your Lab Test Results

Diabetes is a chronic condition that requires an enormous amount of self-care and that can affect many parts of the body. Because of this, people who have diabetes are generally advised to visit their doctors multiple times a year and also to see various specialists (such as endocrinologists, podiatrists, and eye doctors) periodically to screen for potential problems and treat any complications that arise. Along with blood pressure readings and inspection of the feet and eyes, there are a number of laboratory tests recommended by the American Diabetes Association. These tests are used to track blood glucose control, kidney function, cardiovascular health, and other areas of health. Although you certainly can’t and won’t be expected to analyze the lab report when your test results come back, knowing a little bit about what your report says can be a way for you to more fully understand and take charge of your health. If it isn’t already your doctor’s regular practice to give you copies of your lab reports, ask for a copy the next time you have lab tests done. Use the information in this article to learn more about what lab reports show, and discuss your results with your doctor to learn what your results mean with regards to your health. Lab reports All lab reports share certain standard features, regardless of the test(s) they show. A Federal law, the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act, regulates all aspects of clinical laboratory testing. It states exactly what information must be included in your lab test report. Some of the standard features include the following: • Your name and a unique identification number, which may be either your birth date or a medical record number assigned to you by the lab. • The name and address of the lab that tested your bloo Continue reading >>

Diabetes Urine Tests

Diabetes Urine Tests

Urine tests may be done in people with diabetes to evaluate severe hyperglycemia (severe high blood sugar) by looking for ketones in the urine. Ketones are a metabolic product produced when fat is metabolized. Ketones increase when there is insufficient insulin to use glucose for energy. Urine tests are also done to look for the presence of protein in the urine, which is a sign of kidney damage. Urine glucose measurements are less reliable than blood glucose measurements and are not used to diagnose diabetes or evaluate treatment for diabetes. They may be used for screening purposes. Testing for ketones is most common in people with type 1 diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes: What Are The Symptoms? This test detects the presence of ketones, which are byproducts of metabolism that form in the presence of severe hyperglycemia (elevated blood sugar). Ketones are formed from fat that is burned by the body when there is insufficient insulin to allow glucose to be used for fuel. When ketones build up to high levels, ketoacidosis (a serious and life-threatening condition) may occur. Ketone testing can be performed both at home and in the clinical laboratory. Ketones can be detected by dipping a test strip into a sample of urine. A color change on the test strip signals the presence of ketones in the urine. Ketones occur most commonly in people with type 1 diabetes, but uncommonly, people with type 2 diabetes may test positive for ketones. The microalbumin test detects microalbumin, a type of protein, in the urine. Protein is present in the urine when there is damage to the kidneys. Since the damage to blood vessels that occurs as a complication of diabetes can lead to kidney problems, the microalbumin test is done to check for damage to the kidneys over time. Can urine tests be used to Continue reading >>

Blood Gas Measurements In Dka: Are We Searching For A Unicorn?

Blood Gas Measurements In Dka: Are We Searching For A Unicorn?

Introduction Recently there have been numerous publications and discussions about whether VBGs can replace ABGs in DKA. The growing consensus is that VBGs are indeed adequate. Eliminating painful, time-consuming arterial blood draws is a huge step in the right direction. However, the ABG vs. VBG debate overlooks a larger point: neither ABG nor VBG measurements are usually helpful. It is widely recommended to routinely obtain an ABG or VBG, for example by both American and British guidelines. Why? Is it helping our patients, or is it something that we do out of a sense of habit or obligation? Diagnosis of DKA: Blood gas doesn’t help These are the diagnostic criteria for DKA from the America Diabetes Association. They utilize either pH or bicarbonate in a redundant fashion to quantify the severity of acidosis. It is unclear what independent information the pH adds beyond what is provided by the bicarbonate. Practically speaking, the blood gas doesn’t help diagnose DKA. This diagnosis should be based on analysis of the metabolic derangements in the acid-base status (e.g. anion gap, beta-hydroxybutyrate level). The addition of a blood gas to serum chemistries only adds information about the respiratory status, which does not help determine if the patient has ketoacidosis. Management: Does the pH help? It is debatable whether knowing or attempting to directly “treat” the pH is helpful. The pH will often be very low, usually lower than would be expected by looking at the patient. This may induce panic. However, it is actually a useful reminder that acidemia itself doesn't necessarily cause instability (e.g. healthy young rowers may experience lactic acidosis with a pH <7 during athletic exertion; Volianitis 2001). A question often arises regarding whether bicarbonate Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis And Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar Syndrome

Diabetic Ketoacidosis And Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar Syndrome

In Brief Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and hyperosmolar hyperglycemic syndrome (HHS) are two acute complications of diabetes that can result in increased morbidity and mortality if not efficiently and effectively treated. Mortality rates are 2–5% for DKA and 15% for HHS, and mortality is usually a consequence of the underlying precipitating cause(s) rather than a result of the metabolic changes of hyperglycemia. Effective standardized treatment protocols, as well as prompt identification and treatment of the precipitating cause, are important factors affecting outcome. The two most common life-threatening complications of diabetes mellitus include diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome (HHS). Although there are important differences in their pathogenesis, the basic underlying mechanism for both disorders is a reduction in the net effective concentration of circulating insulin coupled with a concomitant elevation of counterregulatory hormones (glucagon, catecholamines, cortisol, and growth hormone). These hyperglycemic emergencies continue to be important causes of morbidity and mortality among patients with diabetes. DKA is reported to be responsible for more than 100,000 hospital admissions per year in the United States1 and accounts for 4–9% of all hospital discharge summaries among patients with diabetes.1 The incidence of HHS is lower than DKA and accounts for <1% of all primary diabetic admissions.1 Most patients with DKA have type 1 diabetes; however, patients with type 2 diabetes are also at risk during the catabolic stress of acute illness.2 Contrary to popular belief, DKA is more common in adults than in children.1 In community-based studies, more than 40% of African-American patients with DKA were >40 years of age and more than 2 Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis Workup

Diabetic Ketoacidosis Workup

Approach Considerations Diabetic ketoacidosis is typically characterized by hyperglycemia over 250 mg/dL, a bicarbonate level less than 18 mEq/L, and a pH less than 7.30, with ketonemia and ketonuria. While definitions vary, mild DKA can be categorized by a pH level of 7.25-7.3 and a serum bicarbonate level between 15-18 mEq/L; moderate DKA can be categorized by a pH between 7.0-7.24 and a serum bicarbonate level of 10 to less than 15 mEq/L; and severe DKA has a pH less than 7.0 and bicarbonate less than 10 mEq/L. [17] In mild DKA, anion gap is greater than 10 and in moderate or severe DKA the anion gap is greater than 12. These figures differentiate DKA from HHS where blood glucose is greater than 600 mg/dL but pH is greater than 7.3 and serum bicarbonate greater than 15 mEq/L. Laboratory studies for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) should be scheduled as follows: Repeat laboratory tests are critical, including potassium, glucose, electrolytes, and, if necessary, phosphorus. Initial workup should include aggressive volume, glucose, and electrolyte management. It is important to be aware that high serum glucose levels may lead to dilutional hyponatremia; high triglyceride levels may lead to factitious low glucose levels; and high levels of ketone bodies may lead to factitious elevation of creatinine levels. Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka)

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka)

Diabetic ketoacidosis is an acute metabolic complication of diabetes characterized by hyperglycemia, hyperketonemia, and metabolic acidosis. Hyperglycemia causes an osmotic diuresis with significant fluid and electrolyte loss. DKA occurs mostly in type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM). It causes nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain and can progress to cerebral edema, coma, and death. DKA is diagnosed by detection of hyperketonemia and anion gap metabolic acidosis in the presence of hyperglycemia. Treatment involves volume expansion, insulin replacement, and prevention of hypokalemia. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is most common among patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus and develops when insulin levels are insufficient to meet the body’s basic metabolic requirements. DKA is the first manifestation of type 1 DM in a minority of patients. Insulin deficiency can be absolute (eg, during lapses in the administration of exogenous insulin) or relative (eg, when usual insulin doses do not meet metabolic needs during physiologic stress). Common physiologic stresses that can trigger DKA include Some drugs implicated in causing DKA include DKA is less common in type 2 diabetes mellitus, but it may occur in situations of unusual physiologic stress. Ketosis-prone type 2 diabetes is a variant of type 2 diabetes, which is sometimes seen in obese individuals, often of African (including African-American or Afro-Caribbean) origin. People with ketosis-prone diabetes (also referred to as Flatbush diabetes) can have significant impairment of beta cell function with hyperglycemia, and are therefore more likely to develop DKA in the setting of significant hyperglycemia. SGLT-2 inhibitors have been implicated in causing DKA in both type 1 and type 2 DM. Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka)

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka)

A 12 year old boy, previously healthy, is admitted to the hospital after 2 days of polyuria, polyphagia, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Vital signs are: Temp 37C, BP 103/63 mmHg, HR 112, RR 30. Physical exam shows a lethargic boy. Labs are notable forWBC 16,000,Glucose 534, K 5.9, pH 7.13, PCO2 is 20 mmHg, PO2 is 90 mmHg. result of insulin, glucagon, growth hormone, catecholamine increased tidal volume and rate as a result of metabolic acidosis due to gluconeogenesis and glycogenolysis tissues unable to use the high glucose as it is unable to enter cells anion gap due to ketoacidosis, lactic acidosis consumed in an attempt to buffer the increased acid glucose acts as an osmotic agent and draws water from ICF to ECF acidosis results in ICF/ECF exchange of H+ for K+ depletion of total body potassium due to cellular shift and losses through urine -hydroxybutyrate not detected with normal ketone body tests due to in capillary lipoprotein lipase activity H2PO4- is increased in urine, as it is titratable acid used to buffer the excess H+ that is being excreted must prevent resultant hypokalemia and hypophosphatemia labs may show pseudo-hyperkalemia prior to administartion of fluid and insulin due to transcellular shift of potassium out of the cells to balance the H+ being transfered into the cells Upon administration of insulin, potassium will shift intracellularly, possibly resulting in dangerous hypokalemia give phosphatesupplementation to prevent respiratory paralysis (M1.EC.31) A 17-year-old male presents to your office complaining of polyuria, polydipsia, and unintentional weight loss of 12 pounds over the past 3 months. On physical examination, the patient is tachypneic with labored breathing. Which of the following electrolyte abnormalities would you most likely Continue reading >>

Diagnosis

Diagnosis

Print If your doctor suspects diabetic ketoacidosis, he or she will do a physical exam and various blood tests. In some cases, additional tests may be needed to help determine what triggered the diabetic ketoacidosis. Blood tests Blood tests used in the diagnosis of diabetic ketoacidosis will measure: Blood sugar level. If there isn't enough insulin in your body to allow sugar to enter your cells, your blood sugar level will rise (hyperglycemia). As your body breaks down fat and protein for energy, your blood sugar level will continue to rise. Ketone level. When your body breaks down fat and protein for energy, acids known as ketones enter your bloodstream. Blood acidity. If you have excess ketones in your blood, your blood will become acidic (acidosis). This can alter the normal function of organs throughout your body. Additional tests Your doctor may order tests to identify underlying health problems that might have contributed to diabetic ketoacidosis and to check for complications. Tests might include: Blood electrolyte tests Urinalysis Chest X-ray A recording of the electrical activity of the heart (electrocardiogram) Treatment If you're diagnosed with diabetic ketoacidosis, you might be treated in the emergency room or admitted to the hospital. Treatment usually involves: Fluid replacement. You'll receive fluids — either by mouth or through a vein (intravenously) — until you're rehydrated. The fluids will replace those you've lost through excessive urination, as well as help dilute the excess sugar in your blood. Electrolyte replacement. Electrolytes are minerals in your blood that carry an electric charge, such as sodium, potassium and chloride. The absence of insulin can lower the level of several electrolytes in your blood. You'll receive electrolytes throu Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Patient professional reference Professional Reference articles are written by UK doctors and are based on research evidence, UK and European Guidelines. They are designed for health professionals to use. You may find the Pre-diabetes (Impaired Glucose Tolerance) article more useful, or one of our other health articles. See also the separate Childhood Ketoacidosis article. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a medical emergency with a significant morbidity and mortality. It should be diagnosed promptly and managed intensively. DKA is characterised by hyperglycaemia, acidosis and ketonaemia:[1] Ketonaemia (3 mmol/L and over), or significant ketonuria (more than 2+ on standard urine sticks). Blood glucose over 11 mmol/L or known diabetes mellitus (the degree of hyperglycaemia is not a reliable indicator of DKA and the blood glucose may rarely be normal or only slightly elevated in DKA). Bicarbonate below 15 mmol/L and/or venous pH less than 7.3. However, hyperglycaemia may not always be present and low blood ketone levels (<3 mmol/L) do not always exclude DKA.[2] Epidemiology DKA is normally seen in people with type 1 diabetes. Data from the UK National Diabetes Audit show a crude one-year incidence of 3.6% among people with type 1 diabetes. In the UK nearly 4% of people with type 1 diabetes experience DKA each year. About 6% of cases of DKA occur in adults newly presenting with type 1 diabetes. About 8% of episodes occur in hospital patients who did not primarily present with DKA.[2] However, DKA may also occur in people with type 2 diabetes, although people with type 2 diabetes are much more likely to have a hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state. Ketosis-prone type 2 diabetes tends to be more common in older, overweight, non-white people with type 2 diabetes, and DKA may be their Continue reading >>

Exam Shows Diffuse Abdominal Tenderness With Guarding.

Exam Shows Diffuse Abdominal Tenderness With Guarding.

A 14 y/o female is brought to the emergency department by her mother after being found unresponsive at home. She had been ill the day before with nausea and vomiting, but was not running a fever. Her parents had kept her home from school that day. When her mother came home at lunchtime to check on her, she was very lethargic and not responding coherently. By the time she arrived at the hospital, she had to be brought in to the ED on a gurney. Initial evaluation showed O2 sat 100% on room air, pulse 126, respirations 30, BP 92/68, temperature 101.2 F. She appears pale, mucous membranes are dry and she only responds to painful stimuli. Exam shows diffuse abdominal tenderness with guarding. Differential diagnosis? What initial treatment would you suggest? What labs would you order? Any xrays or additional studies? CBC WBC 23,500 Hgb 14.2 g/dL Hct 45% Platelets 425,000 BMP Sodium 126 Potassium 5.2 Chloride 87 CO2 <5 BUN 32 Creatinine 1.5 Glucose 1,376 Arterial Blood Gases pH 7.19 Po2 100 mm Hg HCO3 7.5 mmo/L Pco2 20 mm Hg Sao2 98% (room air) Urine Specific gravity 1.015 Ketones 4+ Leukocytes few Glucose 4+ Nitrates 0 RBCs many Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is an acute metabolic complication of diabetes characterized by hyperglycemia, hyperketonemia, and metabolic acidosis. DKA occurs mostly in type 1 diabetics. It causes nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain and can progress to cerebral edema, coma, and death. DKA is diagnosed by detection of hyperketonemia and anion gap metabolic acidosis in the presence of hyperglycemia. Treatment involves volume expansion, insulin replacement, and prevention of hypokalemia. Symptoms and signs of DKA Nausea & vomiting Abdominal pain--particularly in children Lethargy and somnolence Kussmaul respirations Hypotension Tachycardia Fruity breath Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Initial Evaluation Initial evaluation of patients with DKA includes diagnosis and treatment of precipitating factors (Table 14–18). The most common precipitating factor is infection, followed by noncompliance with insulin therapy.3 While insulin pump therapy has been implicated as a risk factor for DKA in the past, most recent studies show that with proper education and practice using the pump, the frequency of DKA is the same for patients on pump and injection therapy.19 Common causes by frequency Other causes Selected drugs that may contribute to diabetic ketoacidosis Infection, particularly pneumonia, urinary tract infection, and sepsis4 Inadequate insulin treatment or noncompliance4 New-onset diabetes4 Cardiovascular disease, particularly myocardial infarction5 Acanthosis nigricans6 Acromegaly7 Arterial thrombosis, including mesenteric and iliac5 Cerebrovascular accident5 Hemochromatosis8 Hyperthyroidism9 Pancreatitis10 Pregnancy11 Atypical antipsychotic agents12 Corticosteroids13 FK50614 Glucagon15 Interferon16 Sympathomimetic agents including albuterol (Ventolin), dopamine (Intropin), dobutamine (Dobutrex), terbutaline (Bricanyl),17 and ritodrine (Yutopar)18 DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS Three key features of diabetic acidosis are hyperglycemia, ketosis, and acidosis. The conditions that cause these metabolic abnormalities overlap. The primary differential diagnosis for hyperglycemia is hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state (Table 23,20), which is discussed in the Stoner article21 on page 1723 of this issue. Common problems that produce ketosis include alcoholism and starvation. Metabolic states in which acidosis is predominant include lactic acidosis and ingestion of drugs such as salicylates and methanol. Abdominal pain may be a symptom of ketoacidosis or part of the inci Continue reading >>

Can Serum Β-hydroxybutyrate Be Used To Diagnose Diabetic Ketoacidosis?

Can Serum Β-hydroxybutyrate Be Used To Diagnose Diabetic Ketoacidosis?

Abstract OBJECTIVE—Current criteria for the diagnosis of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) are limited by their nonspecificity (serum bicarbonate [HCO3] and pH) and qualitative nature (the presence of ketonemia/ketonuria). The present study was undertaken to determine whether quantitative measurement of a ketone body anion could be used to diagnose DKA. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—A retrospective review of records from hospitalized diabetic patients was undertaken to determine the concentration of serum β-hydroxybutyrate (βOHB) that corresponds to a HCO3 level of 18 mEq/l, the threshold value for diagnosis in recently published consensus criteria. Simultaneous admission βOHB and HCO3 values were recorded from 466 encounters, 129 in children and 337 in adults. RESULTS—A HCO3 level of 18 mEq/l corresponded with βOHB levels of 3.0 and 3.8 mmol/l in children and adults, respectively. With the use of these threshold βOHB values to define DKA, there was substantial discordance (∼≥20%) between βOHB and conventional diagnostic criteria using HCO3, pH, and glucose. In patients with DKA, there was no correlation between HCO3 and glucose levels on admission and a significant but weak correlation between βOHB and glucose levels (P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS—Where available, serum βOHB levels ≥3.0 and ≥3.8 mmol/l in children and adults, respectively, in the presence of uncontrolled diabetes can be used to diagnose DKA and may be superior to the serum HCO3 level for that purpose. The marked variability in the relationship between βOHB and HCO3 is probably due to the presence of other acid-base disturbances, especially hyperchloremic, nonanion gap acidosis. Recently published consensus criteria for diagnosing diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) include a serum bicarbonate (HCO3) Continue reading >>

Diagnosis And Treatment Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis And The Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar State

Diagnosis And Treatment Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis And The Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar State

Go to: Pathogenesis In both DKA and HHS, the underlying metabolic abnormality results from the combination of absolute or relative insulin deficiency and increased amounts of counterregulatory hormones. Glucose and lipid metabolism When insulin is deficient, the elevated levels of glucagon, catecholamines and cortisol will stimulate hepatic glucose production through increased glycogenolysis and enhanced gluconeogenesis4 (Fig. 1). Hypercortisolemia will result in increased proteolysis, thus providing amino acid precursors for gluconeogenesis. Low insulin and high catecholamine concentrations will reduce glucose uptake by peripheral tissues. The combination of elevated hepatic glucose production and decreased peripheral glucose use is the main pathogenic disturbance responsible for hyperglycemia in DKA and HHS. The hyperglycemia will lead to glycosuria, osmotic diuresis and dehydration. This will be associated with decreased kidney perfusion, particularly in HHS, that will result in decreased glucose clearance by the kidney and thus further exacerbation of the hyperglycemia. In DKA, the low insulin levels combined with increased levels of catecholamines, cortisol and growth hormone will activate hormone-sensitive lipase, which will cause the breakdown of triglycerides and release of free fatty acids. The free fatty acids are taken up by the liver and converted to ketone bodies that are released into the circulation. The process of ketogenesis is stimulated by the increase in glucagon levels.5 This hormone will activate carnitine palmitoyltransferase I, an enzyme that allows free fatty acids in the form of coenzyme A to cross mitochondrial membranes after their esterification into carnitine. On the other side, esterification is reversed by carnitine palmitoyltransferase I Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka) - Topic Overview

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka) - Topic Overview

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a life-threatening condition that develops when cells in the body are unable to get the sugar (glucose) they need for energy because there is not enough insulin. When the sugar cannot get into the cells, it stays in the blood. The kidneys filter some of the sugar from the blood and remove it from the body through urine. Because the cells cannot receive sugar for energy, the body begins to break down fat and muscle for energy. When this happens, ketones, or fatty acids, are produced and enter the bloodstream, causing the chemical imbalance (metabolic acidosis) called diabetic ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis can be caused by not getting enough insulin, having a severe infection or other illness, becoming severely dehydrated, or some combination of these things. It can occur in people who have little or no insulin in their bodies (mostly people with type 1 diabetes but it can happen with type 2 diabetes, especially children) when their blood sugar levels are high. Your blood sugar may be quite high before you notice symptoms, which include: Flushed, hot, dry skin. Feeling thirsty and urinating a lot. Drowsiness or difficulty waking up. Young children may lack interest in their normal activities. Rapid, deep breathing. A strong, fruity breath odor. Loss of appetite, belly pain, and vomiting. Confusion. Laboratory tests, including blood and urine tests, are used to confirm a diagnosis of diabetic ketoacidosis. Tests for ketones are available for home use. Keep some test strips nearby in case your blood sugar level becomes high. When ketoacidosis is severe, it must be treated in the hospital, often in an intensive care unit. Treatment involves giving insulin and fluids through your vein and closely watching certain chemicals in your blood (electrolyt Continue reading >>

Blood Ketones

Blood Ketones

On This Site Tests: Urine Ketones (see Urinalysis - The Chemical Exam); Blood Gases; Glucose Tests Elsewhere On The Web Ask a Laboratory Scientist Your questions will be answered by a laboratory scientist as part of a voluntary service provided by one of our partners, the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS). Click on the Contact a Scientist button below to be re-directed to the ASCLS site to complete a request form. If your question relates to this web site and not to a specific lab test, please submit it via our Contact Us page instead. Thank you. Continue reading >>

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