How to Differentiate Between Acidosis and Alkalosis
First differentiate between the respiratory and metabolic.
The respiratory one has to do with breathing in and out (that is ventilation) while the metabolic has to do with processes inside the body. * 2
Know what each one is: Respiratory
Respiratory acidosis happens when a person is hypoventilating. In this case their respiration is depressed and so they are retaining carbon dioxide leading to acidosis. This could be caused by depression of the respiratory center. Respiratory alkalosis is caused by hyperventilation and in this case, carbon dioxide is being exhaled in larger quantities than normal so the person is losing a lot of it leading to alkalosis. It could be caused by anxiety. *
Know what each one is: Metabolic
Metabolic acidosis occurs when there is loss of bicarbonate from the body. This can be caused by diarrhea. Metabolic alkalosis is caused by the loss of acid from the body, and increasing bicarbonate in the body. This can be caused by vomiting.
What are acidosis and alkalosis?
Acidosis and alkalosis are terms used to describe the abnormal conditions that result from an excess of acid or alkali (base) within the blood. Normal blood pH must be maintained within a narrow range of 7.35-7.45 to ensure the proper functioning of metabolic processes and the delivery of the right amount of oxygen to tissues. Acidosis refers to an excess of acid in the blood that causes the pH to fall below 7.35, and alkalosis refers to an excess of base in the blood that causes the pH to rise above 7.45. Many conditions and diseases can interfere with pH control in the body and cause a person's blood pH to fall outside of healthy limits. Metabolism generates large quantities of acids that must be neutralized and/or eliminated to maintain pH balance. Most of the acid is carbonic acid, which is created from carbon dioxide (CO2) and water. Lesser quantities of lactic acid, ketoacids, and other organic acids are also produced. The major organs involved in regulating blood pH are the lungs and the kidneys. The lungs flush acid out of the body by exhaling CO2. Raising and lowering the respiratory rate alters the amount of CO2 that is breathed out, and this can affect blood pH within seconds to minutes. The kidneys excrete acids in the urine, and they regulate the concentration of bicarbonate (HCO3-, a base) in blood. Acid-base changes due to increases or decreases in HCO3- concentration occur more slowly than changes in CO2, taking hours or days. Both of these processes are always at work, and they keep the blood pH in healthy people tightly controlled. Buffering systems that resist changes in pH also contribute to the regulation of acid and base concentrations. The main buffers in blood are hemoglobin (in red blood cells), plasma proteins, bicarbonate, and phosphates. The absolute quantities of acids or bases are less important than the balance between the two and its effect on blood pH (see Figure 1, below). Acidosis occurs when blood pH falls below 7.35. It can be due to increased acid production within the body, consumption of substances that are metabolized to acids, decreased acid excretion, or increased excretion of base. Alkalosisoccurs when blood pH rises above 7.45. It can be due to electrolyte disturbances caused by, for example, prolonged vomiting or severe dehydration, administration or consumption of base, and hyperventilation (with increased excretion of acid in the form of CO2). Any disease or condition that affects the lungs, kidneys, metabolism or breathing has the potential to cause acidosis or alkalosis. The normal balance between acid and base can be visualized in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Faucets and Drains
* The blood's pH is normally between 7.35 and 7.45.
* The body's goal is a constant balance between incoming/produced acids and bases (faucet on) and eliminated acids and...
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