Acidosis: pH <7.35
too much acid in body fluids; not enough bicarbonate base; low pH
The condition when there are two many hydrogen ions in body fluids and there is a low pH in the blood. This condition stimulates the brain stem to increase the respiratory rate and the TV (tidal volume). It leads to loss of carbon dioxide and a loss of H2CO3 (carbonic acid), which leads to a correction of the pH.
Acidosis usually refers to acidity of the blood plasma and is said to occur when arterial pH falls below 7.35, while alkalosis occurs at a pH over 7.45
Acidosis can have a respiratory cause, that results in a high carbonic acid level due to the lungs failing to remove the CO2 (carbon dioxide) at the normal rate. It can also be due to a metabolic cause which results in a low CO2 because the lungs are hyperventilating in an attempt to raise the pH of the blood by reducing the level of carbonic acid. See Acid Base Balance.
To see the difference between Respiratory Acidosis and Metabolic Acidosis, See Acid Base Balance.
Some causes of metabolic acidosis — when too much acid is produced or the kidneys cannot remove enough acid from the body:
Hypercapnia >43 mmHg
(abnormally-high level of carbon dioxide in the arterial blood)
The most common cause of acidosis; a level of dissolved carbon dioxide above 43mmHg — can result from any pulmonary disorder that interferes with the removal of CO2 — respiratory acidosis; accompanied by hypoxia (a condition in which the body as a whole (generalized hypoxia) or a region of the body (tissue hypoxia, or less commonly regional hypoxia) is deprived of adequate oxygen supply).
Hypercapnia relates to chronic conditions — severe asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and other similar.
Alkalosis: pH >7.45
too much base in body fluids; not enough acid/hyrdogen ions; high pH
Alkalosis refers to a condition reducing hydrogen ion concentration of arterial blood plasma (alkalemia) — said to occur when pH of the blood exceeds 7.45, while acidosis occurs when pH falls below 7.35. Basically, not enough hydrogen ions in body fluids and a high pH in the blood.
When in alkalosis, lungs have a limited ability to compensate by decreasing the RR (respiratory rate) because oxygen must continue to be supplied to the tissues by pulmonary ventilation.
Some causes of alkalosis — the result of the blood's pH getting too high:
To see the difference between Respiratory Alkalosis and Metabolic Alkalosis, See Acid Base Balance.
Normal Levels of Acid Base Balance:
How would you distinguish between metabolic and respiratory causes/diseases? By measuring the levels of carbon dioxide in the blood; blood tests to determine the cause of the acid-base imbalance, and urine tests to determine if the problem is due to kidney issues.
Blood levels of dissolved carbonic acid,
bicarbonate, and carbon dioxide
are largely controlled by the lungs.
Hypocapnia < 37mmHg
(deficiency of carbon dioxide in the arterial blood):
Results from hyperventilation as lungs attempt to correct metabolic acidosis, resulting from an abnormally excessive production of acids. Levels of dissolved carbon dioxide here are below 37 mmHg.
Hypocapnia symptoms are the same as the symptoms of hyperventilation — reduced levels of oxygen in body cells (tissue hypoxia), promoting virtually all chronic diseases in humans.