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What is acidosis?

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Quick Answer

Acidosis is the occurrence of body fluids containing an excessive amount of acid, states Healthline. Metabolic acidosis happens when kidneys do not eliminate acid properly, and respiratory acidosis occurs when lungs retain an immoderate amount of carbon dioxide.

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Full Answer

Chest injury, chronic airway conditions, sedative misuse, obesity and deformed chest structure cause respiratory acidosis as do weak muscles in the chest and nervous system issues, explains Healthline. Poorly managed diabetes, diarrhea, vomiting, cancer and chronic alcohol use as well as low blood sugar, prolonged exercise, seizures and heart failure cause metabolic acidosis. Dehydration, methanol or aspirin poisoning, kidney failure and a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet can also increase the risk of metabolic acidosis.

Respiratory acidosis and metabolic acidosis share similar symptoms, such as sleepiness, confusion, breathing difficulty and fatigue, according to Healthline. A symptom unique to metabolic acidosis is the fruity-smelling breath related to diabetic acidosis. Doctors use a series of urine and blood tests along with a basic metabolic panel to diagnose metabolic acidosis. A chest X-ray or a pulmonary function test determines respiratory acidosis.

Doctors treat respiratory acidosis with drugs that dilate the airway, states Healthline. They may also use oxygen applications or a continuous positive airway pressure device. Oral sodium bicarbonate treats hypercholoremic acidosis, sodium citrate treats acidosis caused by kidney failure, IV fluids and insulin treat diabetes with ketoacidosis, and doctors may use oxygen, antibiotics, IV fluids or bicarbonate supplements for lactic acidosis treatment.

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