What is Acidosis and How is It Caused?
Acidosis is a medical condition in which there is too much acid build-up in the body fluids. Acidosis is the opposite of alkalosis, a medical condition in where there is too much base build-up in the body fluids. The kidneys and the lungs maintain the proper levels (pH level) of acids and bases in the body. Acidosis occurs when too much acid builds up in the body or a base is lost in the body. There are two types of acidosis: respiratory acidosis and metabolic acidosis.
Respiratory acidosis occurs when there is too much carbon dioxide (a base) in the body. Respiratory acidosis occurs when the body cannot remove enough carbon dioxide from the body through breathing. Chest deformities, chest injuries, weakness of chest muscles, chronic lung disease and an overuse of sedatives may cause respiratory acidosis.
Metabolic acidosis occurs when too much acid is produced by the body or the kidneys cannot remove acid from the body. Metabolic acidosis can be caused by uncontrolled diabetes, losing too much base from the body (which can be caused by excessive diarrhea), and build-up of lactic acid in the body. Lactic acid can build up in the body as a result of excessive alcohol use, excessive exercise, low blood sugar, liver failure and prolonged lack of oxygen.
Acidosis can also be caused by kidney disease, poisoning by aspirin, methanol or glycol (found in antifreeze) and severe dehydration.
Acidosis is dangerous if it is untreated. However, many patients respond well to treatment. It is diagnosed by an arterial blood gas analysis or a serum electrolytes test (such as a basic metabolic panel). Such tests will determine if the acidosis is metabolic or respiratory.
Neonatal Acidosis and Causes
Neonatal (newborn) acidosis usually occurs in premature babies as well as newborns who were deprived of oxygen (asphyxia) during birth or shortly after birth. Not only can acidosis be fatal in newborns, but it can also result in brain damage.
Neonatal acidosis may also be caused by respiratory distress, reduced blood volume, anemia, hypothermia, kidney damage and problems, heart problems, and metabolism problems.
Lawsuits Involving Neonatal Acidosis
Lawsuits involving neonatal acidosis may involve the following: asphyxia, failure to properly diagnose acidosis, and failure to prevent respiratory distress. In addition, lawsuits may also be brought against parties that are responsible for environmental toxins, such as lead paint, that can cause acidosis.