It seems as though “Helen” has been afflicted with respiratory acidosis from the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the blood. The other symptoms that she is experiencing, the hypoventilation and sluggishness are due to the damage in her lungs from the emphysema. To regulate Helen’s breathing and carbon dioxide levels she needs to try to inhale long deep breaths and drug intervention may be needed as well.
Respiratory acidosis is a condition in which a build-up of carbon dioxide in the blood produces a shift in the body's pH balance and causes the body's system to become more acidic. This condition is brought about by a problem either involving the lungs and respiratory system or signals from the brain that control breathing.
Respiratory acidosis is an acid imbalance in the body caused by a problem related to breathing. In the lungs, oxygen from inhaled air is exchanged for carbon dioxide from the blood. This process takes place between the alveoli and the blood vessels that connect to them. When this exchange of oxygen for carbon dioxide is damaged, the excess carbon dioxide forms an acid in the blood. The condition can be dire with a sudden attack, or it can develop gradually as lung function deteriorates.
Respiratory acidosis can be caused by diseases or conditions that affect the lungs themselves, such as emphysema, as in Helen’s case, chronic bronchitis, asthma, or severe pneumonia. Drugs like anesthetics, sedatives, and narcotics can interfere with breathing by depressing the respiratory center in the brain. Head injuries or brain tumors can also interfere with signals sent by the brain to the lungs. Such neuromuscular diseases as Guillain-Barré syndrome or myasthenia gravis can impair the muscles around the lungs making it more difficult to breathe. (Resp.Acid)
The most notable symptom will be slowed or difficult breathing. Headache, drowsiness, restlessness, tremor, and confusion may also occur. A rapid heart rate, changes in blood pressure,...
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