Acidosis


Acidosis

Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

A pathologic state characterized by an increase in the concentration of hydrogen ions in the arterial blood above the normal level, 40 nmol/L, or pH 7.4; may be caused by an accumulation of carbon dioxide or acidic products of metabolism, or by a decrease in the concentration of alkaline compounds.

ICD-9-CM: 276.2.

pH is the short form for potential hydrogen. The pH of any solution is the measure of its hydrogen-ion concentration. The higher the pH reading, the more alkaline and oxygen rich the fluid is. The lower the pH reading, the more acidic and oxygen deprived the fluid is. The pH ranges from 0 to 14, with 7.0 being neutral. Indicator above 7.0 is alkaline and below 7.0 is considered acidic.

Acidosis is a condition in which there is excessive acid in the body fluids. It is the opposite of alkalosis.

The kidneys and lungs maintain the balance of chemicals called acids and bases in the body. This disease occurs when acid builds up or when bicarbonate is lost. Acidosis is classified as either respiratory acidosis or metabolic acidosis.

    Causes of respiratory acidosis include: Chest deformities, such as kyphosis, chest injuries, chest muscle weakness, chronic lung disease, and over-use of sedative drugs.

  • Metabolic acidosis develops when too much acid is produced or when the kidneys cannot remove enough acid from the body.

Acidosis is more common in our society, it is mostly due to the typical American diet, which is far too high in acid-producing animal products like meat, eggs and dairy, and far too low in alkaline-producing foods like fresh vegetables. Additionally, we eat acid-producing processed foods like white flour and sugar and drink acid-producing beverages like coffee and soft drinks. We use too many drugs, which are acid-forming; and we use artificial chemical sweeteners which are extremely acid-forming. One of the best things we can do to correct an overly-acid body is to clean up the diet and lifestyle.

Most people who suffer from unbalanced pH are too acidic. This condition forces the body to borrow minerals including calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium, from vital organs and bones to buffer (neutralize) the acid and safely remove it from the body. Because of this strain, the body can suffer severe and prolonged damage due to high acidity. A condition that may go undetected for years.

Symptoms:

Some people who have high acidity levels tend to exhibit these symptoms such as: anxiety, diarrhea, dilated pupils, extroverted behavior, fatigue in early morning, headaches, hyperactivity, hypersexuality, insomnia, nervousness, rapid heartbeat, restless legs, shortness of breath, strong appetite, high blood pressure, warm dry hands and feet.

Diagnosis:

The diagnosis of acidosis generally requires the measurement of blood pH in a sample of arterial blood, usually taken from the radial artery in the wrist. Arterial blood is used because venous blood contains high levels of bicarbonate and thus is generally not as accurate a measure of the body's pH status.

acidosis

Signs and tests

    Arterial or venous blood gas analysis.

  • Serum electrolytes.

  • Urine pH.

An arterial blood gas analysis or serum electrolytes test, such as a basic metabolic panel, will confirm that acidosis is present and indicate whether it is metabolic acidosis or respiratory acidosis. Other tests may be needed to determine the cause of the acidosis.

Treatment Options:

The treatment of metabolic acidosis depends primarily on the cause. For instance, treatment may be needed to control diabetes with insulin or to remove the toxic substance from the blood in cases of poisoning.

The treatment of respiratory acidosis aims at improving the function of the lungs. Drugs that open the airways (bronchodilators, such as albuterol may help people who have lung diseases such as asthma and emphysema. People who have severely impaired breathing or lung function, for whatever reason, may need mechanical ventilation to aid breathing.

Acidosis may also be treated directly. If the this disease is mild, the administration of intravenous fluids may be all that is needed. Rarely, when acidosis is very severe, bicarbonate may be given intravenously. However, bicarbonate provides only temporary relief and may cause harm—for instance, by overloading the body with sodium and water.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.

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