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Health Encylopedia

 
Metabolic acidosis
 
SubjectContents
Definition Metabolic acidosis is a disturbance of the body acid-base balance in which there is excessive acidity of the blood. Metabolic acidosis can occur as a result of many different diseases, such as kidney failure, poisoning, diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), and shock. Many of these conditions are life-threatening. In addition, metabolic acidosis, if severe, may lead to shock or death. In some situations, metabolic acidosis can be a mild, chronic condition.
Alternative Names 
Causes, incidence, and risk factors Many different diseases and medical conditions can lead to metabolic acidosis. For example, diabetes mellitus type I (juvenile diabetes), when out of control, leads to diabetic ketoacidosis. Kidney failure is another important cause of metabolic acidosis. Ingestion of toxic substances, such as antifreeze or excessive amounts of aspirin, can also lead to metabolic acidosis. Shock (extremely low blood pressure) can also cause this condition.
Symptoms Usually, the symptoms of the disease which causes metabolic acidosis are the main symptoms. Metabolic acidosis itself usually causes shortness of breath. Confusion or lethargy may also occur.
Signs and tests Blood tests are necessary to diagnose metabolic acidosis.
  • An arterial blood gas can assess the severity of the metabolic acidosis.
  • A metabolic panel can also reveal important clues to the cause and severity of the metabolic acidosis.
  • A complete blood count is often done to assess possible causes of metabolic acidosis.
  • Treatment Treatment is aimed at the underlying condition. In certain circumstances, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) may be given to improve the acidity of the blood.
    Support Groups 
    Expectations (prognosis) The prognosis of metabolic acidosis depends on the underlying disease.
    Complications When very severe, metabolic acidosis can lead to shock or death.
    Calling your health care provider Call your health care provider, or go to the nearest emergency room if symptoms of any disease that causes metabolic acidosis appear.
    Prevention Keeping diabetes mellitus type I under control can avoid many cases of metabolic acidosis. Avoid ingesting toxic materials.