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Increase in the acid content in the body is referred to as acidosis. It mainly occurs when the pH level falls below 7.35. There are two kinds of acidosis―respiratory and metabolic. These clinical disturbances can have several effects on the body, ranging from minor to severe.

Respiratory Acidosis

In this condition, a person's lungs cannot fully discard carbon dioxide that is produced by the body. And hence, this causes body fluids, especially blood, to become too acidic. Apart from chest x-rays and CT scans, the individual has to do tests like arterial blood gas, basic metabolic panel, and pulmonary function. Over a long period of time, an individual can suffer from chronic respiratory acidosis leading him/her to a stable condition as the kidneys increase production of bicarbonate which helps the body restores its acidic balance.

Causes

Asthma
Chronic obstructive lung disease
Scoliosis
Severe obesity
Obstructive sleep apnea
Pain medication with alcohol

Symptoms

Confusion
Lethargy
Fatigue
Shortness of breath
Sleepiness

Treatment Options

Depending on the cause, your doctor can suggest a variety of treatment options such as giving you a bronchodilator drug that will open up obstruction in your airway, CPAP or BiPAP, oxygen, or simply ask you to stop smoking.

Metabolic Acidosis

In this condition, a person has too much acid in the body fluids because the kidneys are not removing it from the body. There are different types of metabolic acidosis―diabetic, lactic, hyperchloremic, etc.

Diabetic acidosis occurs when ketone bodies start to build up in the body. This usually occurs in people who have uncontrolled type 1 diabetes.

Lactic acidosis occurs when there is a build up of lactic acid in the body; it is mainly produced in the muscles cells and red blood cells. It can be caused by cancer, excess alcohol intake, liver failure, seizures, and prolonged lack of oxygen.

Hyperchloremic acidosis occurs when a person loses excess amounts of sodium bicarbonate from his/her body; it can be triggered with severe diarrhea.

Other Causes

Kidney disease
Poisoning by aspirin
Poisoning by ethylene glycol
Poisoning by methanol
Severe dehydration

Symptoms

Rapid breathing
Confusion
Lethargy

Treatment Options

Your doctor can ask you to do an arterial blood gas, serum electrolytes, or urine pH exam. Apart from this, other tests can also be done in order to find the actual cause of metabolic acidosis as the correct course of treatment will depend on it. In certain cases, patients have been given sodium bicarbonate in order to reduce acidity in the blood.

Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.