Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Student Scholarship

Date Written

Summer 2015

Document Type


Course Number

NURS 5330

Course Name

Advanced Pathophysiology

Professor’s Name

John D. Chovan, James R. Cacchillo


Diabetes, Hyperglycemia, Ketone Bodies, Metabolic Acidosis

Subject Categories

Endocrine System Diseases | Medical Pathology | Medicine and Health Sciences | Nursing


According to “Statistics About Diabetes” (2014), in 2012, 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3% of the population, had diabetes. Additionally, of the 29.1 million, 21 million of the population were diagnosed, and 8.1 million were undiagnosed. With such a high prevalence, it is imperative that the hospital nurse is aware not only how to treat diabetes, but also how to look for complications of diabetes. One of the severe complications of diabetes is Diabetic Ketoacidosis, or DKA. DKA occurs as a result of prolonged untreated diabetes. It is the result of the body not being able to produce, or use, insulin to meet the body’s demands for energy. The result of this is a mixture of a hyperglycemic state, the presence of ketone bodies, and metabolic acidosis (Bogle-Bell & Cox, 2014, p 15). DKA is often seen in the emergency room and ICU setting, as it is a very acute complication, that can result in death if not properly cared for. When a patient is experiencing DKA, there are many complicated pathophysiological processes that need to be intently monitored to ensure that the patient has a positive outcome. Caring for a patient in DKA requires a keen awareness of not only the various pathophysiological processes, but how these processes might manifest themselves.



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