What Is Acidosis ( Metabolic and Respiratory ) ?


Acidosis is a condition that occurs when acid levels in the body are very high. Based on the cause, the condition is divided into two, namely metabolic and respiratory acidosis. Metabolic acidosis is caused by the inability of the kidneys to eliminate excess acid from the body. Metabolic acidosis itself can be subdivided into several subcategories, including:
  • Diabetic acidosis. This condition usually occurs in diabetics with insulin levels or uncontrolled ketones.
  • Lactic acidosis. This condition occurs when the content of lactic acid in the body is very high. Lactic acidosis is usually triggered by excessive alcohol consumption, long-term use of long-term salicylic acid, or medical conditions, such as hypoglycemia, heart failure, renal failure, cancer, seizures, sepsis. In addition, lactic acidosis can also occur when the body lacks oxygen supply for a long time or when a person excessively exercises.
  • Hyperchloremic acidosis . This condition occurs when the body is deficient in sodium bicarbonate. This is common when someone has diarrhea or vomiting for long periods of time.
  • Renal tubular acidosis. This condition occurs when the kidneys can not get rid of acid through the urine and actually collect in the blood.

Respiratory acidosis, also called hypercapnia acidosis or acidosis of carbon dioxide, is a condition that occurs when excess carbon dioxide levels in the body. This condition is caused by the lungs are not able to dispose of carbon dioxide substances produced by the body, so the level of acidity of blood and other body fluids to rise. Respiratory acidosis may be triggered by:
  • Chronic respiratory diseases, such as asthma.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Pneumonia .
  • Obesity that complicates the process of breathing.
  • Chest injury.
  • Chest muscles weaken.
  • Abnormalities in the shape of chest and spine anatomy, such as kyphosis .
  • Abnormalities in the nervous system of the body.
  • Sleep apnea .
  • Eating alcohol or sedative drugs exceeds the recommended dosage.
  • Use sedative drugs along with alcohol consumption.
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There are two types of respiratory acidosis, namely acute and chronic respiratory acidosis. Acute respiratory acidosis is an emergency and should be treated quickly so as not to endanger life. Probable chronic respiratory acidosis is not an emergency and is occasionally asymptomatic. This is because the body can adapt to excess acids, for example by producing sodium bicarbonate to balance acid-base. However, keep in mind that this condition can become acute if left untreated.

The risk of getting an acidosis can increase when a person has a habit of eating foods high in fat and low in carbohydrates, suffering from kidney failure, dehydration, or drug intoxication.

Symptoms of Acidosis
The symptoms and severity experienced by the sufferer will vary according to the conditions experienced. Here are the usual symptoms of metabolic acidosis:

  • Short and quick breath.
  • Headache.
  • Dazed.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Easily feel tired or sleepy.
  • Decreased appetite.
  • Heart rate increases.
  • Sick yellow .
  • Breath smells like the smell of fruit (signs of diabetic acidosis).

Whereas in patients with respiratory acidosis, the following are symptoms that are usually experienced:

  • Easily feel tired or sleepy.
  • Dizzy.
  • Headache.
  • Dazed.
  • Feeling uneasy.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Blurred vision.

Symptoms such as lethargy, delirium, to coma may occur if the respiratory acidosis condition is not treated promptly.

If the patient has chronic respiratory acidosis, the symptoms are not always felt. However, signs such as memory loss, difficulty sleeping, and behavioral changes may occur.

Immediately see a doctor if you feel the symptoms of acidosis in order to be treated early.

Diagnosis of Acidosis
Doctors may suspect a patient suffering from symptomatic acidosis, physical examination of the patient, as well as a medical history review (including family health history of the patient). To ensure that suspicion, further tests will be conducted, including:

  • Blood test. Arterial blood gas analysis can be done to determine the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood. Another type of blood test is a comprehensive metabolic panel to know how well kidney function is, as well as to measure acid levels (pH), calcium, protein, sugar, and electrolytes.
  • Scan test, through chest X-rays and lung function tests.
  • Urine test. This test is performed to find out whether the excess acid in the body is removed through the urine.

Treatment of Acidosis
Treatment of acidosis will be adjusted according to doctor type and severity. Generally, treatment of acidosis is done in the hospital. In the case of hyprechloremic acidosis, doctors will usually give sodium bicarornate, either in oral or intravenous fluids. In addition, sodium citrate will be given if the patient has kidney failure.

For diabetics, insulin will be given in conjunction with intravenous fluids to balance acidic liquids. And for people with lactic acidosis, bicarbonate supplements, antibiotics, intravenous fluids, or oxygen will be given. If the condition has not been severe, the detoxification process can be done, especially for patients who experience drug or alcohol toxicity.

In the case of respiratory acidosis, doctors will usually administer diuretic drugs to reduce fluid buildup in the lungs and heart, or use a device called continous positive airway pressure (CPAP) as a respiratory aid for patients with weak lung weakness or COPD. While in patients with chronic respiratory acidosis, doctors will generally give antibiotics, diuretics, corticosteroids or bronchodilators. If the patient's condition is severe enough, a mechanical ventilator will be installed.

Keep in mind that acute respiratory acidosis is a fatal condition. Make sure you get to the hospital immediately if you have shortness of breath or have other lung problems.

Complications of Acidosis
Patients with acidosis have the potential to experience complications if not treated early, such as:

  • Kidney stones.
  • Kidney failure.
  • Chronic kidney disease.
  • Delay in growth.
  • Bone disease.

Prevention of Acidosis
Acidosis can not be prevented completely. However, there are several ways that can be done so that the condition of the patient does not deteriorate, such as:

  • Stop smoking so that lung health is not disturbed.
  • Maintain weight to avoid obesity.
  • Eat enough water to avoid dehydration.
  • Use sedatives or other medicines according to the doctor's advice.
  • Avoid consuming alcoholic beverages, either during treatment or afterwards.
  • Keep your blood sugar well.


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