DKA results from insulin deficiency with a relative or absolute increase in glucagon and may be precipitated by inadequate insulin administration, infection (pneumonia, urinary tract infection, gastroenteritis, sepsis), infarction (cerebral, coronary, mesenteric, peripheral), surgery, trauma, drugs (cocaine), or pregnancy. A common clinical scenario is the pt with type 1 DM who erroneously stops administering insulin because of anorexia/lack of food intake caused by a minor illness, followed by lipolysis and progressive ketosis leading to DKA.

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