Metabolic acidosis

Alternative Names

Acidosis – metabolic

Definition of Metabolic acidosis

Metabolic acidosis is a condition in which there is too much acid in the body fluids.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Metabolic acidosis occurs when the body produces too much acid, or when the kidneys are not removing enough acid from the body. There are several types of metablic acidosis:

Symptoms

Most symptoms are caused by the underlying disease or condition that is causing the metabolic acidosis. Metabolic acidosis itself usually causes rapid breathing. Confusion or lethargy may also occur. Severe metabolic acidosis can lead to shock or death. In some situations, metabolic acidosis can be a mild, chronic (ongoing) condition.

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.

Expectations (prognosis)

What can be expected will depend on the underlying disease causing the metabolic acidosis.

Review

David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 11/15/2009

Insulin production and diabetes

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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