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Acidosis Symptoms and Signs

Body organs such as the kidney and lungs function to maintain a proper pH balance. Our body consists of acids and bases, which form the pH level. However, excess acid in body fluids results in a condition called acidosis. Acidosis, may further be classified as respiratory or metabolic acidosis.

Respiratory Acidosis Symptoms:

Respiratory acidosis may occur when lung disorder or dysfunction results in excess acid build up in the blood and body fluids.

Severe respiratory acidosis may result in organ malfunction or respiratory failure. Respiratory acidosis symptoms include 

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Excessive yawning and sleepiness
  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Lack of alertness, confusion regarding situations or directions

Metabolic Acidosis Signs:

Metabolic acidosis occurs because of the kidney’s inability to process and excrete excess acid from the body. One of the reasons could be uncontrolled diabetes. Signs and symptoms of diabetic acidosis include increased thirst, frequent urination, difficulty in breathing, peculiar mouth odor, nausea and vomiting, fatigue and weakness, abdominal pain and loss of appetite, lack of concentration, and confusion. If tests reveal a high sugar level or excess ketone level in your urine, consult your doctor for diabetic ketoacidosis immediately.

Another form of metabolic acidosis includes lactic acidosis. In this condition, the body is unable to process lactic acid resulting in excess build up. Lactic acidosis signs and symptoms include nausea, weakness, muscle cramps, shortness of breath, loss of appetite and abdominal discomfort. Diarrhea can be a cause as well as symptom of lactic acidosis. Acidosis may result in an inflamed gullet. The delicate lining of the throat, chest and stomach may suffer from inflammation due to acid reflux scarring the throat and making it difficult to swallow food.

Acidosis Symptoms in Children:

Renal tubular acidosis or RTA may affect children and adults alike. However, acidosis symptoms in children with RTA may differ from adults. In adults, RTA may lead to development of kidney stones as the organ fails to reabsorb bicarbonate or excrete hydrogen. Acidosis effects in children may include poor weight gain and slow rate of development. Other symptoms may include dehydration, increased thirst, frequent urination, listlessness and confusion. Acidosis symptoms and causes often determine treatment. However, if you experience any of the above symptoms, it is best to consult your doctor and carry out pH level tests, blood sugar level tests, and other examinations to determine your acid–alkaline balance.

Acidosis Causes

Acidosis may be caused by an imbalance of pH levels in body fluids. Hypokalemia refers to low potassium levels in the blood. Essential nutrients such as potassium help maintain nerve and muscle function. Low levels of potassium in the blood may lead to life threatening conditions. Acidosis maybe classified under respiratory acidosis or metabolic acidosis. Respiratory acidosis causes include chronic lung disease or disorder, chest injuries, congenital chest deformities, chest injuries or chest muscle weakness, and abuse of sedative drugs. Metabolic acidosis causes may include diabetic ketoacidosis caused by increase in ketones. This may occur in individuals with uncontrolled diabetes. Severe diarrhea may result in hyperchloremic acidosis as a result of excessive loss of sodium bicarbonate. Acidosis causes include insomnia, stress, anger, and anxiety. Lactic acidosis causes may include cancer, prolonged exercise, low blood sugar levels, alcohol or drug abuse, liver or heart failure and certain medications. Acidosis causes also include kidney disease or conditions leading to severe dehydration.

Hypokalemia: Acidosis causes hypokalemia when the body loses potassium due to various reasons. In the case of diabetic ketoacidosis, the body may lose potassium due to frequent urination or kidney disorder. Similarly, a kidney dysfunction, in the case of RTA or renal tubular acidosis, may also cause hypokalemia. Other causes of hypokalemia include a bout of diarrhea leading to dehydration and loss of essential body fluids. Eating disorders that cause pH imbalance, abuse of laxatives, kidney failure, and medications that act as diuretics may cause hypokalemia. Additionally, primary aldosteronism, a condition in which the body retains sodium and loses potassium may also cause hypokalemia.

Hyperkalemia: A high level of potassium in the blood results in a condition called hyperkalemia. Acidosis causes hyperkalemia when excess hydrogen ions in the blood stream maybe replaced with potassium ions increasing the levels of potassium in the blood. Hyperkalemia may also occur due to kidney failure, diabetes, injuries or wounds causing break down of red blood cells, which release potassium into the blood stream, alcohol or drug abuse, Addison’s disease and excessive use of potassium supplements. Certain medications used for treating hypertension or cardiovascular diseases may also cause blood cells to relax and release excess potassium into the blood stream.

Acidosis Natural Treatment 

Acidosis causes and natural treatment usually revolve around maintaining good kidney and lung health. An alkaline diet comprising plant proteins and limiting foods that cause acidosis such as heavy meats, dairy products, refined flour products, artificial sweeteners and processed foods may help to balance pH levels. Since physical and mental stress contributes to acidosis, natural treatments may involve reducing stress and finding ways to relax. For individuals suffering from acidosis, a change in lifestyle and diet may help reduce many of the symptoms and effects of this condition. Depending on the causes of acidosis, your doctor may recommend an acidosis diet treatment. One natural way to treat acidosis includes consuming an alkalized diet. An alkalized diet would focus on fresh fruits and vegetables, root vegetables, dried fruits and nuts, lentils and legumes.

An alkalized diet helps to release bicarbonates into the blood stream, which helps to balance the pH level. In the case of metabolic acidosis diet, a dietary change alone will not be sufficient. If the underlying cause of acidosis includes uncontrolled diabetes or hypoglycemia, you must consult your doctor for treatment of these conditions in order to effectively treat acidosis. Excess or prolonged exercise may cause hyperacidosis. Individuals may experience muscle cramps, abdominal discomfort, fatigue, and nausea. Preventive treatment for hyperacidosis includes consuming fruits such as bananas before a workout to boost potassium levels. Drinking plenty of water will maintain a balance of body fluids and electrolytes during an intensive workout.

  • Respiratory acidosis treatment involves treating the underlying conditions such as lung disease or dilators to reduce lung blockage or airway restriction. Your doctor may recommend limiting or treating smoking addictions. If congenital reasons include disrupted breathing, a non-invasive ventilator procedure may help. Respiratory acidosis due to lack of oxygen in the blood may involve using an oxygen machine or changing your diet to promote oxygen supply in the blood.
  • Hyperchloremic metabolic acidosis treatment may necessitate the use of intravenous bicarbonate. Your doctor may recommend blood tests and supervision of pH levels in your blood. A severe case of hyperchloremic metabolic acidosis may require dialysis to cleanse intoxication and thereby flush out the acids in the blood.
  • Lactic acidosis treatment may require change in dietary habits. Eating more alkaline based or alkaline forming foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables and avoiding processed foods and acid-forming foods such as sugar, grains, cereals, meat, poultry and dairy products may reduce the risk of lactic acidosis.
  • Renal tubular acidosis treatment or RTA treatment involves identifying whether an individual is suffering from proximal or distal renal tubular acidosis. Neutralizing the acid in the blood is the primary step. Renal tubular acidosis treatment includes administering oral alkalies to maintain pH balance. Your doctor may recommend oral or injected shots containing sodium bicarbonate or potassium citrate to neutralize blood acids.
  • Cattle may suffer from a condition called rumen acidosis; categorized as acute or sub-acute acidosis, typical symptoms include diarrhea, sore hooves, loss of appetite, movements denoting discomfort or stress, excess saliva, signs of lethargy, and disrupted feeding patterns. Rumen acidosis treatment may include change in feeds provided to the cattle. Long fibers may encourage cattle to chew cud and promote saliva production. Avoid feed that tends to ferment and discourage microbe function. Adding alkaline products such as sodium bicarbonate or potassium carbonate to their feed may provide rumen pH buffer.
Submitted on January 16, 2014