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Acidosis is a pathological condition that results from the actual or relative increase in the acidity of blood.
There are three major kinds of acidosis:
- Metabolic acidosis refers to any process that causes a decrease in the pH of the blood. Possible etiology includes an excessive ingestion of acids, the failure of the kidneys to excrete acids, severe dehydration, seizures and shock. Symptoms of metabolic acidosis include lethargy, weakness, nausea and vomiting. Treatment is usually through intravenous fluids but may also incorporate medications such as insulin and sodium bicarbonate.
- Renal acidosis is caused by kidney failure or renal tubular diseases. Treatment for renal tubular disease related acidosis is usually with sodium bicarbonate or salts, but acidosis caused by renal failure may require dialysis. Patients with renal failure should be monitored for symptoms of renal acidosis: loss of appetite and changes in level of consciousness and respiration.
- Respiratory acidosis is caused by inadequate ventilation which leads to an accumulation of carbon dioxide in the body. Symptoms include sweating, dysrhythmia, confusion and hypoxia. Treatment may have to include intubation.