Diabetic ketoacidosis: a canary in the mine for mental health disorders?

Link to article at PubMed

Intern Med J. 2021 Jan 18. doi: 10.1111/imj.15214. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Recurrent diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) has been linked to mental health disorders, but less is known about single DKA episodes. Most studies are retrospective, lacking control groups.

AIMS: Prospectively examine psychosocial factors in patients presenting with recurrent or single episode DKA and compare to people who have not had DKA.

METHODS: Case-controlled study (consecutive adult DKA admissions April 2015 to December 2016) at Western Health, Melbourne. Data were prospectively collected regarding: diagnosed mental health disorders, likely depression (PHQ-9 questionnaire), diabetes distress (PAID questionnaire) and presence of adverse social factors. A control group without a history of DKA was also recruited.

RESULTS: Of 123 patients admitted with DKA (164 consecutive episodes), 70 consented to participate and 73 age matched type 1 diabetes controls were recruited. Eleven of 18 (61%) with recurrent DKA had a diagnosed mental health disorder, versus 8 of 42 (19%) in the single episode group (p=0.016). The prevalence of likely depression using PHQ-9 was: recurrent 50%, single 40% and controls 22% (recurrent vs controls, p=0.036, single vs controls, p=0.053). Severe diabetes distress (PAID) was present in 47% of recurrent and 34% of single episode DKA (p=0.387). As a group, DKA patients had significantly more unemployment, illicit drug use and tobacco smoking, a lower level of formal education and less regular medical contact compared to controls.

CONCLUSIONS: Mental health disorders and adverse socio-economic factors appear to be common in patients with DKA. The diagnosis of DKA presents an excellent opportunity to screen for depression and offer appropriate intervention. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

PMID:33462994 | DOI:10.1111/imj.15214

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