symptoms of acidosis

Image source: Wikipedia / Mikael Häggström.

Acidosis is a medical condition in which the acid-base balance in the blood plasma is disturbed in the direction of excess acidity, the pH falling below 7.35. Acidosis may cause deep, sighing breathing and drowsiness or even coma.


Respiratory acidosis, associated with lung disease, heart failure, and central respiratory depression, results from underbreathing and a consequent buildup of plasma carbon dioxide.


Alternative metabolic causes include the ingestion of excess acids (as in aspirin overdose or swallowing antifreeze), ketosis (resulting from malnutrition or diabetes), heavy alkali loss (as from a fistula) and the inability to excrete acid which occurs in some kidney disorders.


Blood tests to diagnose metabolic acidosis may include:


  • An arterial blood gas analysis to assess the severity of the metabolic acidosis

  • A metabolic panel to reveal the cause and severity of the metabolic acidosis

  • A complete blood count (CBC) to assess possible causes of metabolic acidosis

    In some situations, metabolic acidosis can be a mild, chronic condition; however, severe metabolic acidosis may lead to shock or death. The prognosis of metabolic acidosis depends on the underlying disease.


    See also alkalosis.