DKA LAB VALUES (DIABETIC KETOACIDOSIS)


In this video today we are going to cover
the main lab values you’ll need to assess for in a patient with diabetic ketoacidosis,
or DKA for short. Let’s do this. Hey there, friend! Christina here with nursingschoolofsuccess.com
here to help you raise your grades and have more free time in nursing school so you can
keep at least a little bit of sanity. So let’s dive into DKA labs. The first one we’ll talk about is blood glucose
level. So during diabetic ketoacidosis, the cells
in the body aren’t able to use glucose for energy, so the body uses fat instead. And when fat is broken down, acids are released,
and these acids are called ketones. Hence the name, ketoacidosis. So because the cells can’t use glucose for
energy, the glucose just hangs out in the blood, and this leads to hyperglycemia. So you’ll need to keep an eye on their blood
glucose level because it can be elevated during diabetic ketoacidosis. The next lab values we’ll talk about are urine
ketones and urine glucose. So because the body is using fat for energy
instead of glucose, those ketones are produced, so there may be ketones found in the urine. And with that increased blood sugar level,
or hyperglycemia, glucose may also be found in the urine. So you will want to check for both urine ketones
and urine glucose in a patient in diabetic ketoacidosis. Now the next lab value we’ll talk about is
the potassium level. Normally, potassium hangs out inside of the
cell, but when there is a ton of glucose in the blood, like during DKA, potassium moves
outside of the cell to try to balance everything out. Potassium is a home body, it likes to hang
out and stay all nice and cozy inside the cell. But when there’s so much glucose outside the
cell, potassium get curious, it wants to join in on that party, too. So potassium moves outside of the cell to
see what all the fuss is about. So before treatment for DKA, when the blood
glucose level is high, potassium levels may be elevated because potassium will have moved
outside of the cell, which raises the potassium level. However, during treatment, once DKA is getting
under control, and the blood glucose level starts to go down, that blood potassium level
can drop really fast because potassium moves back into the cell once the party’s over. So when all the glucose leaves, potassium
leaves too, it goes back inside the cell. So overall, there will be less potassium in
the blood, causing that blood potassium level to drop. So it’s super important for you to assess
their potassium level frequently when your patient is being treated for DKA because you
don’t want that potassium level to get too low. You’ll also be looking at their arterial blood
gas values, or ABG values (so you’ll be looking at the pH, the HCO3, and the PaCO2 values)
to check for metabolic acidosis. Remember, ketones are acids, and the more
acids there are in the blood, the lower the pH value will be, and the more the ABG values
will be off. Now if you need a refresher on arterial blood
gas analysis and how to interpret ABGs, be sure to check out the video we have for you
on that, we’ll pop up a card here and we’ll also put the link down below in the description
for you to check that out. I also have a free med-surg study checklist
for you to help you study for your med-surg classes in nursing school. I’ll put that link in the description below
as well for you to snag it. And be sure to hit that like button, share
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YOU to be, and I’ll catch you in the next video. Take care.

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