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Metabolic acidosis: causes, values ​​and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The human body works thanks to the complex interaction that exists between each of our organs and the nutrients that we acquire from our diet and the environment. All of them are necessary to carry out the complex metabolic processes that produce energy, hormones or new cells. During these processes, a variety of waste elements are generated that are excreted by different mechanisms, the main ones being urine and feces, all of them substances that are expelled either because they are not usable for the body or because they represent some type of damage.

One of the elements that must be eliminated are the hydrogen ions that determine the acidity of the tissues and the blood, but when for some reason they are not discarded and they accumulate, they cause an alteration known as metabolic acidosis. In this FastlyHealarticle we will discuss the topic of metabolic acidosis: causes, values ​​and treatment so that you can learn more about this condition.

What is metabolic acidosis

The term metabolic acidosis refers to a state in which a person’s body has a higher than normal concentration of hydrogen ions, which is the element that determines the acidity of a substance. In other words, it is a condition in which the pH of the blood becomes more acidic than normal due to a high concentration of hydrogen ions.

Metabolic acidosis: causes

Metabolic acidosis occurs when there is a failure in the mechanisms responsible for regulating the acidity of the blood, which depends mainly on the filtering of the blood by the kidneys and its excretion through the urine. The clearest example of this is in cases of patients suffering from kidney failure , whereby one or both kidneys are not fulfilling a good part of their functions, including the regulation of the acidity of the blood and can end in acidosis metabolic.

It may also be due to a process that is producing an abnormally high number of hydrogen ions. Those who suffer it most frequently are type I diabetics , because when they spend a long time fasting or do not use their insulin, the body tries to use fat to create energy and produces an element called ketone bodies, which are characterized by being acidic . Acids can also build up from overconsumption of certain medications , such as aspirin or blood thinners.

Excessive loss of bicarbonate from the body can also lead to acidosis, as bicarbonate helps control heartburn. This can also occur due to failure of kidney function, although it is also associated with severe diarrhea .

Other situations that can cause metabolic acidosis are:

  • Alcohol
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Seizures
  • Prolonged lack of oxygen
  • Poisonings

Symptoms of metabolic acidosis

Most of the symptoms that a person with metabolic acidosis presents are not directly related to it, but rather to the disease that is causing the acidosis , for example diabetic ketoacidosis, and the vast majority are symptoms that obscure the senses strictly due to metabolic acidosis.

The most characteristic symptom of metabolic acidosis is hyperventilation , because through respiration a small amount of hydrogen ions is also eliminated, so the body reacts to acidosis by stimulating the affected person to breathe more quickly.

Some symptoms that could be related are:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscular weakness
  • Anxiety
  • Headache, chest and abdomen pain
  • Loss of visual acuity
  • Tiredness

Metabolic acidosis: blood gas and values

The pH of the blood is measured through a test called an arterial blood gas , which also measures the concentration of other elements in the blood.

Metabolic acidosis: normal values

  • We speak of normal values when the test result shows values ​​between 7.35 and 7.45.
  • A value less than 7.35 is when it should be considered as acidosis .
  • On the other hand, when it is higher than 7.45 it is called alkalosis , an opposite condition.
  • Another alternative way is to measure the pH of the urine, which is usually between 4.6 and 8.0 and can be found even lower in cases of metabolic acidosis.

Metabolic acidosis: treatment

Because metabolic acidosis is not a disease as such but rather a consequence of other diseases, treatment usually focuses on solving the disease that produces this alteration. For example, if it is a diabetic patient, treatment is aimed at establishing adequate levels of insulin and glucose, while in the case of kidney failure, acidosis is controlled with hemodialysis.that are practiced regularly while a more definitive alternative is achieved. Only in very specific cases can the administration of sodium bicarbonate, a compound that reduces the action of acids, be indicated to control metabolic acidosis, however it is a practice with a certain risk, so it is only administered when absolutely necessary under conditions controlled by a medical team.

In the following FastlyHealarticle we will talk about sodium bicarbonate to alkalize the body .

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Metabolic acidosis: causes, values ​​and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Kidneys and urinary system category .

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