Respiratory acidosis involves excess acid in the blood which is caused by accumulation of carbon dioxide which is a normal product of metabolism and should be removed from the body through the lungs. When the lungs cannot eliminate the carbon dioxide, it will react with water found in the blood and form carbonic acid, causing an increase in the acidity of the blood and other fluids in the body. Respiratory acidosis can be caused by a variety of diseases that leads to the interruption with proper breathing or respiratory gas exchange.
Respiratory acidosis can be chronic where the acid accumulates slowly. An acute respiratory acidosis occurs when the person cannot increase his/her respiration by eliminating carbon dioxide from the lungs and accumulation of acid is sudden. An acute respiratory acidosis is a serious condition and it is vital to seek medical help immediately.
Causes of respiratory acidosis
The following are the causes of respiratory acidosis.
- Any depression of the respiratory center in the brain can upset the normal lung functioning.
- States of increased metabolism such as major burns, fever or malignant hyperthermia can cause accumulation of carbon dioxide and cause respiratory acidosis.
- Overdose of narcotics, overdose of anesthesia, injuries to the head, arterial and vein accidents can cause respiratory acidosis.
- Presence of foreign body in the trachea or bronchospasm
- An acute lower respiratory tract infection can cause respiratory acidosis
- Chest injuries and pulmonary embolism
- Emphysema and chronic bronchitis
- Sarcoidosis and severe kyhoscoliosis
Symptoms of respiratory acidosis
- There is sleepiness, confusion and shortness of breath which leads to a state of unconsciousness and coma.
- Severe tremors in hands
- The vessels found in the brain expand and cause raised intracranial tension where the eye sight and vision are affected.
If the individual experiences the following symptoms, it is vital to consult a doctor for proper assessment of the condition as well as start the appropriate treatment.
What to do for respiratory acidosis?
- For acute respiratory acidosis, provide the individual oxygen. If the individual is taken to a healthcare facility, a mechanical ventilator is utilized in order to effectively manage the condition.
- Use of bronchodilators is also helpful for treating obstructive airway diseases.
- Eat a variety of raw fruits and vegetable.
- Drink carrot juice that contains Vitamin A and other vitamins to help restore the capacity of the lungs if the disease is not severe.
- Smokers should stop smoking.
- Kelp is a good alkalizing supplement that helps in balancing the acidic level in the body with its alkaline elements.
- Willow, ginger and elder bark are natural ingredients that are used for neutralizing excessive acidic content in the body.
Respiratory acidosis becomes severe very quickly and a person suffering from shortness of breath should seek medical help immediately. CPR should be performed if the individual stops breathing.