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What Are the Different Causes of Respiratory Alkalosis?

Jay Leone
Jay Leone

Respiratory alkalosis is a condition in which the blood has very low levels of carbon dioxide because of excessive breathing. One of the main causes of respiratory alkalosis is hyperventilation, a rapid or deep breathing brought on by panic, anxiety, or any one of several other possible factors. Aside from hyperventilation, several other different conditions can lead to respiratory alkalosis. Asthma and lung disease are just two of the many other possible, but less likely, causes of respiratory alkalosis.

Excessive respiration can quickly cause the body to expel carbon dioxide faster than it produces, leading to extremely low levels of carbon dioxide in the blood. Blood pH increases during this whole process and becomes more alkaline, which excites the nervous system. Respiratory arrest becomes increasingly likely when blood pH levels climb and reach extremely high levels.

A person’s normal blood pH levels range between 7.35 and 7.45 on the pH scale. Blood is slightly alkaline even at these normal levels. Alkalosis refers to blood with pH levels exceeding 7.45 on the pH scale. Severe alkalosis can lead to death.

The human body typically has a pH level of about 7.4.
The human body typically has a pH level of about 7.4.

The central causes of respiratory alkalosis act directly on the respiratory center of the body. Several endogenous compounds, such as progesterone, taken during pregnancy can bring about this condition. Different pulmonary causes including pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, asthma, and all types of pulmonary oedema are linked with respiratory alkalosis. Pretty much any lung-related illness that can lead to experiencing shortness of breath may cause this condition.

Pneumonia, prolonged exposure to high altitudes, asthma, and lung disease can all cause respiratory alkalosis. Salicylates, nicotine, catecholamines, and many other drugs can also affect a person’s respiratory system and lead to this condition. It may be brought on by certain central nervous system disorders including encephalitis and meningitis. High fever, stress, fear, and anxiety are other possible causes of respiratory alkalosis. It can accompany concussions and other severe head injuries.

Some of the more common symptoms of respiratory alkalosis include dizziness and light-headedness. Certain people suffering from this condition may experience numbness in the feet and hands. Anxiety-related hyperventilation can cause severe alkalosis and lead to carpopedal spasms. These spasms are described as painful muscle contractions localized in the feet, hands, toes, or fingers. Seizures could be brought on by severe alkalosis.

Respiratory alkalosis is associated with many different illnesses. Many critically ill patients have acid-base abnormalities and respiratory alkalosis is the most common of these abnormalities. This acid-base disorder remains very common among those with chronic liver diseases.

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    • The human body typically has a pH level of about 7.4.
      By: monropic
      The human body typically has a pH level of about 7.4.