Normal Acid Base Values: pH 7.35-7.45 | pCO2 35-45 mmHg | HCO3 22-26 mEq/L
Respiratory Acidosis — always caused by hypoventilation
Effects: CNS is depressed; blood vessels in brain dilate; increased calcium levels; increased hydrogen and other ions in the urine. Some Symptoms: headache; drowsiness; confusion; loss of consciousness; decreased reflexes; skin flushing; nausea; cardiac arrhythmias; activity intolerance. Potential Causes: medications that depress respiratory centers like anesthesia and narcotics; immaturity of lungs in newborns; rib injury; infections; conditions that cause painful breathing. Pathology: emphysema; chronic bronchitis; severe asthma; pneumonia; pulmonary edema; apnea (sleep-disorder breathing); ALS; Guillain-Barré Syndrome; diseases of the nerves or muscles of the chest that impair breathing; cystic fibrosis; narcotic overdose
Respiratory Alkalosis -- always due to hyperventilation
Effects: decreased blood flow to brain; kidneys attempt to correct by secreting potassium and eliminating bicarbonate; decreased calcium levels; emetic brain centers can become irritated. Some Symptoms: blurred vision; dizziness; syncope; tingling hands; maybe cramps, tingling, increased reflexes and convulsions. Potential Causes: fever; aspirin over-dose; high altitudes; stress; over use of labor-breathing techniques; pain. Pathology: anxiety; aspirin overdose; fever; low levels of oxygen in the blood (high elevations); pain.
Metabolic Acidosis — most common imbalance/excess production of organic acids
Effects: accumulation of organic ions; diabetic ketoacidosis; increased calcium, potassium and chloride; renal changes/failure. Some Symptoms: Kussmaul respirations; headache; drowsiness; confusion; loss of consciousness; decreased reflexes; skin flushing; nausea; activity intolerance; cardiac arrhythmias. Potential Causes: not caused by respiratory functions; diarrhea; ingesting of large amounts of aspirin. Pathology: diabetic ketoacidosis/uncontrolled diabetic; alcohol, aspirin, iron; lactic acidosis; loss of bases from diarrhea, ileostomy or colostomy; kidney failure; poisons such as monoxide, cyanide, ethylene glycol or methanol.
Metabolic Alkalosis — gain in base or a loss of acid
Effects: slowed respiratory rate; hyperkalemia; drop in blood pressure in the kidneys due to fluid volume deficit. Some Symptoms: blurred vision; dizziness; syncope; tingling hands; cardiac arrhythmias. Potential Causes: vomiting; gastric suctioning; ingesting bicarbonate; use of electrolyte depleting diuretics. Pathology: loss of acid from vomiting or stomach drainage; overactive adrenal gland; diuretics (thiazides/furosemide/ethacrynic acid).