Respiratory Acidosis is a condition which occurs when the lungs are unable to remove all the carbon dioxide processed in our body. The acid-base balance of our body is hampered by this, causing the blood to become acidic.
We all know how acids, if used in excess, can harm almost anything they are used upon. Imagine if this happens within our body? We would definitely be in trouble and it can make our lives really miserable. Respiratory acidosis is the name of a disease which can lead to the tumultuous situation of the acid-base balance. How does that happen and what does it result in and how can it be identified, is coming up in the text below!
It is a medical condition wherein the lungs are unable to get out all the carbon dioxide produced in our body. This results in a disturbance of the acid-base balance and makes the body fluids more acidic, especially the blood. There are two types of acidosis –
This refers to a situation when an abrupt failure of ventilation occurs, leading to acidosis. The reason for that could be due to the depression of central respiratory center, caused by various reasons.
Chronic acidosis might be secondary to something major like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It refers to severe bronchitis and emphysema, two diseases where the air passage is narrowed, leading to difficulty in breathing and shortage of breath. This type of acidosis is also found secondary to obesity hypoventilation syndrome. It is a medical condition where people are so obese that they fail to breathe rapidly or deeply enough. This manifests into increased level of carbon dioxide and decreased level of oxygen.
There are several causes of respiratory acidosis, which include:
- Diseases concerning the airways, for instance chronic obstructive lung disease or asthma. This is one of the most common cause as it involves breathing in and out of air.
- Problems associated with the chest, which can lead to weakening of the lungs. That in turn can harm the inhaling and exhaling capacity of the lungs.
- If the nerves and muscles which give orders to the lungs to expand and contract have been affected by a disease.
- Those drugs which suppress breathing – for example high potency pain medication, like benzodiazepines, especially when teamed with alcohol.
- The expansion of lungs is also restricted by severe obesity, leading to acidosis.
These symptoms can overlap with other symptoms, so it is necessary to make sure that you have acidosis by getting a check up. The symptoms of acidosis are confusion, lethargy, shortness of breath, sleepiness and easy fatigue. Some other symptoms could be warm skin, pulmonary hypertension, bounding pulse, reduced tendon reflexes, cough, wheezing, irritability, etc. Now let’s see how this problem can be treated.
Treatment of this problem is aimed at the root cause underlying the disease. Therefore, in this case, it will most probably be a lung disease. The treatment thus includes broncho-dilator drugs, which can work on a few types of airway obstruction and can correct them. Then there is non invasive-positive pressure ventilation or if required mechanical ventilation.
As the blood oxygen level goes down, often replenishing the oxygen level in the body through an oxygen supply can prove useful. Smoking, too, can indirectly cause acidosis, so avoiding smoking will work towards better health. How well the treatment works will depend upon the overall health of the individual. That may lead to complications like poor organ function and respiratory failure, which definitely would be an obstruction in the treatment.
Either ways, contacting and consulting a doctor if at all you are having symptoms of a lung disease is certainly advised. A diagnosis done as early as possible leading to proper treatment is essential.