What Are the Possible Complications of Severe Acidosis?

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  • Written By: Marlene Garcia
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 11 May 2020
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Complications of severe acidosis might stem from respiratory problems or excess acid in bodily fluids. Respiratory acidosis might lead to trouble breathing, confusion, and fatigue. It can cause shock and death if symptoms occur suddenly. Metabolic severe acidosis complications also might cause lethargy, confusion, rapid breathing, and shock. Both types of acidosis require emergency medical treatment to identify the underlying disorder causing symptoms.

Respiratory acidosis happens when the lungs cannot expel carbon dioxide, leading to unhealthy levels. It might occur after an injury that restricts breathing or a birth defect of the chest cavity. In some patients, severe acidosis might develop when nerves or muscles responsible for breathing stop functioning properly.

Lung disorders, such as asthma, might also hinder the amount of oxygen in the lungs, leading to excessive carbon dioxide levels. Obese patients sometimes experience trouble breathing because the lungs cannot fully expand, which can lead to severe acidosis in some instances. Finally, narcotic medication, especially if used with alcohol, might depress breathing and increase carbon dioxide levels.

When acute acidosis is diagnosed, clearing the airway represents the first line of treatment. A doctor might use ventilation and administer oxygen to restore the pH level of acid and base. Some patients might suffer from chronic acidosis, which builds up gradually. The human body typically responds to chronic severe acidosis by releasing chemicals from the kidney to rebalance pH levels.

Metabolic severe acidosis happens when too much acid exists in bodily fluids. Three types of metabolic acidosis might produce mild, moderate, or severe forms of the condition. Doctors typically measure blood gases or electrolyte levels to determine if respiratory or metabolic acidosis is present. Urine tests can also reveal pH levels.

Diabetic acidosis might occur in patients who fail to control blood glucose levels through diet or medication. Compounds called ketone bodies can build up when fats are used for energy instead of sugar. Severe cases can lead to coma and death if poisonous levels of ketones accumulate, especially in elderly people. Other complications of diabetic severe acidosis include heart attack, kidney failure, fluid in the brain, and low blood pressure.

Hyperchloremic acidosis is defined as the loss of essential sodium, usually caused by excessive vomiting or diarrhea. Lactic acidosis might occur when too much lactic acid builds up from excessive alcohol use or exercise regimens that lead to dehydration. Some drugs might also cause this acid to accumulate, along with chemical poisoning. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, has also been linked to this form of the condition.


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Post 1

My friend's sister has this respiratory acidosis and is not expected to live much longer. She is too weak to even take treatments any longer. Would a lung machine do her any good?

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