Metabolic acidosis occurs when there is too much acid in the body but not enough bicarbonate to neutralize the acid. Several factors can lead to this pH imbalance: insufficient body insulin, hunger and gastrointestinal conditions such as diarrhea. It is also important to note that this condition could be a symptom of a serious underlying disorder. Examples of such underlying disorders are problems with vital organs such as liver and kidneys or drug related problems. Therefore, it is important to get metabolic acidosis treatment as soon as possible.
Causes of Metabolic Acidosis
The condition of metabolic acidosis can be caused by any of five reasons: ketoacidosis, lactic acidosis, renal tubular acidosis, hyperchloremic acidosis and respiratory acidosis. Each of these causes requires a certain treatment for metabolic acidosis, as will be discussed below.
Ketoacidois is a condition of having too much ketones within the body. Two groups of people can suffer from this condition. The first group is diabetics, which is due to reduced insulin levels. Consequently, a person’s fats, rather than carbs, are burned for energy production. This results in ketones. The second group is alcohol consumers with poor eating habits.
2. Lactic Acidosis
Lactic acidosis is a condition of too much lactic acid in the body. This happens when cells don’t receive sufficient oxygen, especially during physically demanding activities. In addition to oxygen deprivation, conditions such as reduced blood pressure and cardiac arrests can lead to lactic acidosis.
3. Renal Tubular Acidosis
Kidneys usually have a huge role of cleaning out the blood system of toxics, which include acids. In the event whereby they are infected or a person suffers from an inherited kidney condition, then this acid is not removed from the body. Its build up leads to renal tubular acidosis.
4. Hyperchloremic Acidosis
Bicarbonate has a threshold level within the body. This is important to ensure that it raises the pH levels whenever body acidity increases. Some ways that this bicarbonate can go below this threshold is through diarrhea, abusing laxatives or suffering kidney related problems. Low bicarbonate levels lead to hyperchloremic acidosis.
5. Respiratory Acidosis
A person experiencing a lungs’ problem can have high levels of carbon dioxide in his or her system. Consequently, this high level leads to high acidity levels in the blood system or the respiratory acidosis.
Metabolic Acidosis Treatments
Treatment of metabolic acidosis is dependent on the cause of the condition. Sodium bicarbonate is a good treatment for people suffering from hyperchloremic acidosis. In addition, sodium bicarbonate makes a good first level treatment for any person suffering from acidosis irrespective of the cause. The sodium bicarbonate is introduced into the body to balance the pH level and this is done intravenously. In some cases, the patient can also take the bicarbonate orally.
Kidney failure related acidosis requires treatment using sodium citrate. Diabetics are best treated using IV fluids as well as injection of artificial insulin. On the other hand, patients suffering from acidosis due to lactic acidosis require treatment through the use of products that add bicarbonate or oxygen to the body, or IV fluids.
During metabolic acidosis treatment, a person is also given medication to control or treat associated symptoms. These symptoms include vomiting, seizures, and increased blood pressure. Treatment of metabolic acidosis is very important and it should be done at the earliest stage. Delayed treatment can be fatal and if severe, one may suffer effects on bones or body parts such as muscles or kidneys.
When to Seek Medical Help
There are some indicators that should prompt you to seek metabolic acidosis treatment as indicated below.
- When you experience breath shortness, pain within your chest and your heart beat increases abnormally.
- If you notice that you have nausea that seems to get worse by the day, or you are excessively suffering from vomiting and diarrhea.
- If you are undergoing body aches that get worse over time and persistent fatigue.
- When you undergo inexplicable loss of consciousness or you even faint.
- When you are constantly dehydrated, you have poor appetite and the amount of urine that you produce is quite low.
- When you suffer from quite a huge amount of pain within joints.
- Suffering from abdominal pain that seems to never go away.
How to Prevent Metabolic Acidosis
Following are some preventative measures that you can take to avoid suffering from acidosis.
- Ensure that you stay hydrated by taking plenty of water or non alcoholic beverages. When you are well hydrated, you will produce clear urine or that is pale yellow.
- If you are an alcohol consumer, you need to reduce it and if possible avoid it. Alcohol has the effects of dehydrating a person and contributing to acidity in the body.
- Always follow your doctor’s advice on diabetes management. Otherwise it will contribute to acidosis.
- If you suffer from any chronic illness, you need to ensure that you manage it as advised by your doctor. Deviating from a doctor’s prescription by increasing or decreasing drug consumption is likely to lead to acidosis.
- Know your environment and what you consume in order to ensure that you are not exposed to poisons or toxic substances.
- Whenever you take any drug or supplement take your time to know its possible side effects.