NCLEX Practice Test for Endocrine Disorders Answers and Rationale

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1.    Answer B. To reverse hypoglycemia, the American Diabetes Association recommends ingesting 10 to 15 g of a simple carbohydrate, such as three to five pieces of hard candy, two to three packets of sugar (4 to 6 tsp), or 4 oz of fruit juice. If necessary, this treatment can be repeated in 15 minutes. Ingesting only 2 to 5 g of a simple carbohydrate may not raise the blood glucose level sufficiently. Ingesting more than 15 g may raise it above normal, causing hyperglycemia.

2.    Answer A. Poorly controlled hyperparathyroidism may cause an elevated serum calcium level. This, in turn, may diminish calcium stores in the bone, causing bone demineralization and setting the stage for pathologic fractures and a risk for injury. Hyperparathyroidism doesn’t accelerate the metabolic rate. A decreased thyroid hormone level, not an increased parathyroid hormone level, may cause edema and dry skin secondary to fluid infiltration into the interstitial spaces. Hyperparathyroidism causes hypercalcemia, not hypocalcemia; therefore, it isn’t associated with tetany.

3.    Answer D. The nurse should refer this client to a sex counselor or other professional. Making appropriate referrals is a valid part of planning the client’s care. The nurse doesn’t normally provide sex counseling.

4.    Answer B. Diabetic clients must exercise at least three times a week to meet the goals of planned exercise — lowering the blood glucose level, reducing or maintaining the proper weight, increasing the serum high-density lipoprotein level, decreasing serum triglyceride levels, reducing blood pressure, and minimizing stress. Exercising once a week wouldn’t achieve these goals. Exercising more than three times a week, although beneficial, would exceed the minimum requirement.

5.    Answer B. Hypothyroidism (myxedema) causes facial puffiness, extremity edema, and weight gain. Signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism (Graves’ disease) include an increased appetite, weight loss, nervousness, tremors, and thyroid gland enlargement (goiter).

6.    Answer C. Levothyroxine, a synthetic thyroid hormone, is given to a client with hypothyroidism to simulate the effects of thyroxine. Adverse effects of this agent include tachycardia. The other options aren’t associated with levothyroxine.

7.    Answer D. Hyperparathyroidism is most common in older women and is characterized by bone pain and weakness from excess parathyroid hormone (PTH). Clients also exhibit hypercaliuria-causing polyuria. While clients with diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus also have polyuria, they don’t have bone pain and increased sleeping. Hypoparathyroidism is characterized by urinary frequency rather than polyuria.

8.    Answer A. Because diabetes insipidus results from decreased antidiuretic hormone (vasopressin) production, the nurse should expect to administer synthetic vasopressin for hormone replacement therapy. Furosemide, a diuretic, is contraindicated because a client with diabetes insipidus experiences polyuria. Insulin and dextrose are used to treat diabetes mellitus and its complications, not diabetes insipidus.

9.    Answer D. An autonomous aldosterone-producing adenoma is the most common cause of hyperaldosteronism. Hyperplasia is the second most frequent cause. Aldosterone secretion is independent of sodium and potassium intake as well as of pituitary stimulation.

10.    Answer C. The glycosylated Hb test provides an objective measure of glycemic control over a 3-month period. The test helps identify trends or practices that impair glycemic control, and it doesn’t require a fasting period before blood is drawn. The nurse can’t conclude that the result occurs from poor dietary management or inadequate insulin coverage.

11.    Answer A. Muscle weakness, bradycardia, nausea, diarrhea, and paresthesia of the hands, feet, tongue, and face are findings associated with hyperkalemia, which is transient and occurs from transient hypoaldosteronism when the adenoma is removed. Tremors, diaphoresis, and constipation aren’t seen in hyperkalemia.

12.    Answer A. ADH is the hormone clients with diabetes insipidus lack. The client’s TSH, FSH, and LH levels won’t be affected.

13.    Answer B. Thyroid crisis usually occurs in the first 12 hours after thyroidectomy and causes exaggerated signs of hyperthyroidism, such as high fever, tachycardia, and extreme restlessness. Diabetic ketoacidosis is more likely to produce polyuria, polydipsia, and polyphagia; hypoglycemia, to produce weakness, tremors, profuse perspiration, and hunger. Tetany typically causes uncontrollable muscle spasms, stridor, cyanosis, and possibly asphyxia.

14.    Answer C. In hyperglycemia, urine osmolarity (the measurement of dissolved particles in the urine) increases as glucose particles move into the urine. The client experiences glucosuria and polyuria, losing body fluids and experiencing fluid volume deficit. Cool, clammy skin; distended neck veins; and a decreased serum sodium level are signs of fluid volume excess, the opposite imbalance.

15.    Answer D. Pheochromocytoma, a tumor of the adrenal medulla that secretes excessive catecholamine, causes hypertension, tachycardia, hyperglycemia, hypermetabolism, and weight loss. It isn’t associated with the other options.

16.    Answer C. To reduce water retention in a client with the SIADH, the nurse should restrict fluids. Administering fluids by any route would further increase the client’s already heightened fluid load.

17.    Answer A. This client’s serum calcium level indicates hypocalcemia, an electrolyte imbalance that causes Trousseau’s sign (carpopedal spasm induced by inflating the blood pressure cuff above systolic pressure). Homans’ sign (pain on dorsiflexion of the foot) indicates deep vein thrombosis. Hegar’s sign (softening of the uterine isthmus) and Goodell’s sign (cervical softening) are probable signs of pregnancy.

18.    Answer A. Diabetes insipidus is characterized by polyuria (up to 8 L/day), constant thirst, and an unusually high oral intake of fluids. Treatment with the appropriate drug should decrease both oral fluid intake and urine output. A urine output of 200 ml/hour indicates continuing polyuria. A blood pressure of 90/50 mm Hg and a heart rate of 126 beats/minute indicate compensation for the continued fluid deficit, suggesting that treatment hasn’t been effective.

19.    Answer A. Acromegaly, which is caused by a pituitary tumor that releases excessive growth hormone, is associated with hyperglycemia, hypertension, diaphoresis, peripheral neuropathy, and joint pain. Enlarged hands and feet are related to lateral bone growth, which is seen in adults with this disorder. The accompanying soft tissue swelling causes hoarseness and often sleep apnea. Type 1 diabetes is usually seen in children, and newly diagnosed persons are usually very ill and thin. Hypothyroidism isn’t associated with hyperglycemia, nor is growth hormone deficiency.

20.    Answer D. To control hypoglycemic episodes, the nurse should instruct the client to consume a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet, avoid fasting, and avoid simple sugars. Increasing saturated fat intake and increasing vitamin supplementation wouldn’t help control hypoglycemia.

21.    Answer C. Severe hypothyroidism may result in myxedema coma, in which a drastic drop in the metabolic rate causes decreased vital signs, hypoventilation (possibly leading to respiratory acidosis), and nonpitting edema. Thyroid storm is an acute complication of hyperthyroidism. Cretinism is a form of hypothyroidism that occurs in infants. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a common chronic inflammatory disease of the thyroid gland in which autoimmune factors play a prominent role.

22.    Answer B. Oral antidiabetic agents are only effective in adult clients with type 2 diabetes. Oral antidiabetic agents aren’t effective in type 1 diabetes. Pregnant and lactating women aren’t prescribed oral antidiabetic agents because the effect on the fetus is uncertain.

23.    Answer A. Sulfisoxazole and other sulfonamides are chemically related to oral antidiabetic agents and may precipitate hypoglycemia. Mexiletine, an antiarrhythmic, is used to treat refractory ventricular arrhythmias; it doesn’t cause hypoglycemia. Prednisone, a corticosteroid, is associated with hyperglycemia. Lithium may cause transient hyperglycemia, not hypoglycemia.

24.    Answer B. Many clients (25% to 60%) with secondary failure respond to a different oral antidiabetic agent. Therefore, it wouldn’t be appropriate to initiate insulin therapy at this time. However, if a new oral antidiabetic agent is unsuccessful in keeping glucose levels at an acceptable level, insulin may be used in addition to the antidiabetic agent.

25.    Answer D. To prevent undue pressure on the surgical incision after subtotal thyroidectomy, the nurse should advise the client to avoid hyperextending the neck. The client may elevate the head of the bed as desired and should perform deep breathing and coughing to help prevent pneumonia. Subtotal thyroidectomy doesn’t affect swallowing.


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