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Re: [IPp] Definition of DKA and how to know

Here is what I found in Ellenberg and Rifkin's Diabetes
Mellitus, 5th edition, pg 829-30:
"Traditionally DKA is defined by a glucose >300 to
350mg/dL, HCO3- <18mEq/L with a pH [< or = to] 7.30. A
pH less than 7.35 in a patient with ketonemia and a
glucose concentration greater than 300 to 350mg/dL
identifies mild DKA. Because acute hyperventilation can
lower the serum bicarbonate by as much as 5mEq/L, the
presence of bicarbonate less than 18 to 19 mEq/L, in a
patient with appropriate hyperglycemia, should also
suggest the diagnosis. The blood glucose concentration
used as a criterion of DKA is difficult to define
because there are patients with blood glucose
concentrations above 350 to 400mg/dL who have no
evidence of DKA and a substantial number of patients
with established DKA whose blood glucose concentrations
are less than 350mg/dL. This emphasizes the variable
expression of diabetic decompensation."

This book goes into extensive detail about DKA (has a
whole chapter devoted to it), more than I can type
here. If you can get a copy at the library I promise
you'll have a good (albeit highly technical) read. :)
The acidosis can throw off all kinds of things
(phosphorous, bicarbonate, potassium, sodium,
magnesium, and other things.)  There is also a
bibliography listing at the end of the chapter for
further research/study.

Take care, Kerri
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