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How does the renal system compensate for respiratory acidosis?

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Quick Answer

The renal system compensates for respiratory acidosis by increasing the production of bicarbonate, according to the National Institutes of Health. This results in increased levels of bicarbonate in the blood and helps restore the body's natural pH level.

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Full Answer

Bicarbonate is an alkaline element produced by the body and is essential in maintaining a balanced pH level in the blood, according to Wikipedia. Bicarbonate works with water to create a buffering system that helps restore the blood to a normal pH level.

Respiratory acidosis is a medical condition in which the lungs cannot remove all of the carbon dioxide the body produces, according to the National Institutes of Health. The excessive amount of carbon dioxide causes the blood to become too acidic. Causes of respiratory acidosis include asthma, extreme obesity and drugs that suppress breathing.

There are two types of respiratory acidosis, according to the National Institutes of Health. Chronic respiratory acidosis occurs over an extended period of time and is easily regulated by the renal system. In this type of respiratory acidosis, carbon dioxide slowly increases, allowing time for the kidneys to produce an adequate supply of bicarbonate. Acute respiratory acidosis is a state in which carbon dioxide builds up rapidly before the renal system can produce enough bicarbonate to restore the acid-base balance.

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