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What Are the Different Types of Respiratory Acidosis Treatment?

A.E. Freeman
Updated May 17, 2024
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Respiratory acidosis treatment varies depending on the cause and severity of the condition. Some patients may need drugs that improve breathing to treat respiratory acidosis, while others may require a breathing machine or additional oxygen. For still others, surgery may be a better option. In some cases, treating the cause of the acidosis will be the best course.

Acidosis occurs when a patient's blood becomes too acidic. When a patient has respiratory acidosis, his lungs do not release enough carbon dioxide, which increases the acidity of the blood. People with conditions such as asthma or emphysema are at risk for respiratory acidosis, as are those who are obese or who have taken sedatives, which slow the action of the lungs. Smoking increases a person's risk for the condition.

One common respiratory acidosis treatment involves drugs that open the airways. Bronchodilators, such as albuterol, which are commonly prescribed to patients with asthma, can treat respiratory acidosis. A bronchodilator widens the airways, making it easier for a person to take in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide.

A blocked airway that causes respiratory acidosis can also be treated with a breathing machine, such as a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. CPAP machines are commonly used with patients who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. The machine pushes oxygen into the airways so that they do not collapse.

A ventilator acts as another mechanical respiratory acidosis treatment. Ventilators are used to help people breathe. The machine pushes oxygen into the lungs and removes carbon dioxide. Typically, the machines are used for a short period of time in a hospital setting. Patients with constant breathing troubles may need a portable ventilator.

Oxygen therapy is also used as a form of respiratory acidosis treatment, particularly among patients with conditions such as emphysema. The oxygen is given to patients if the level of oxygen in the blood is very low. There are cases where oxygen therapy increases the level of carbon dioxide in the blood, so it should be approached with caution.

Surgical treatments for respiratory acidosis may be necessary in some cases. Patients who are morbidly obese and suffer from acidosis may consider weight-loss surgery, as losing weight will reduce the pressure on the lungs and improve breathing. Scoliosis can also lead to respiratory problems, as the lungs cannot fully function with this condition. In a severe case of scoliosis, spinal fusion may be a suitable treatment.

Smoking can lead to respiratory acidosis, and so smoking cessation treatment and therapy can serve as a preventative treatment option. Smoking cessation programs offer guidance and counseling to patients as they work to quit the habit. Some patients decide to use nicotine replacement therapies to help them stop smoking.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
A.E. Freeman
By A.E. Freeman , Former Writer
Amy Freeman, a freelance copywriter and content creator, makes engaging copy that drives customer acquisition and retention. With a background in the arts, she combines her writing prowess with best practices to deliver compelling content across various domains and effectively connect with target audiences.

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A.E. Freeman

A.E. Freeman

Former Writer

Amy Freeman, a freelance copywriter and content creator, makes engaging copy that drives customer acquisition and...
Learn more
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