What Causes Metabolic Acidosis?

Reviewed on 2/26/2021

What causes metabolic acidosis?

Metabolic acidosis develops when the body has too much acidic ions in the blood. Metabolic acidosis is caused by severe dehydration, drug overdoses, liver failure, carbon monoxide poisoning and other causes.
Metabolic acidosis develops when the body has too much acidic ions in the blood. Metabolic acidosis is caused by severe dehydration, drug overdoses, liver failure, carbon monoxide poisoning and other causes.

Metabolic acidosis develops when the body has too much acidic ions in the blood. It occurs when the kidneys cannot remove enough acid from the body. Metabolic acidosis can be caused by

There are various types of metabolic acidosis

  • Diabetic acidosis: Diabetic acidosis develops when chemical substances called ketone bodies build up during uncontrolled diabetes.
  • Hyperchloremic acidosis: It is caused by the loss of sodium bicarbonate from the body.
  • Lactic acidosis: It results from a buildup of lactic acid.
  • Renal tubular acidosis: Kidney diseases and some genetic disorders can injure your kidneys. These lead to the accumulation of acids in your kidneys.
  • Respiratory acidosis: Lung disorders can contribute to the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the lungs.

Common causes of metabolic acidosis and blood metabolites (byproducts) found in such cases

CauseMetabolite
DiarrheaBicarbonate
UremiaPhosphoric, sulfuric and lactic acids
Diabetic ketoacidosisIncreased ketones
Strenuous exerciseLactic acid
MethanolFormic acid
Paraldehydeβ-Hydroxybutyric acid
IsopropanolPropionic acid
Ethylene glycolGlycolic acid and some oxalic and formic acids
Salicylate/aspirinSulfosalicylic acid (SSA)

What is metabolic acidosis?

Metabolic acidosis occurs when there is excess acid in the body fluids. Basically, there’s an imbalance of acids and bases in your blood. A person who has a blood pH below 7.35 is considered to be in acidosis. 

In this process, your body

  • Produces too much acid
  • Doesn’t get rid of enough acid
  • Doesn’t have enough base to neutralize the acid

What are the symptoms of metabolic acidosis?

The symptoms of metabolic acidosis differ in different parts

Severe metabolic acidosis can lead to shock and death.

What are the complications of metabolic acidosis?

There are several complications of metabolic acidosis, which include

  • Osteoporosis: Loss of bone in your body leads to high risk of fractures.
  • Progression of kidney disease: Metabolic acidosis can worsen your kidney disease.
  • Muscle loss: Metabolic acidosis can lower the amount of albumin produced in your body, leading to muscle wasting or muscle loss.
  • Endocrine disorders: Metabolic acidosis hampers your body’s ability to maintain normal functions of your endocrine system, which leads to imbalances of hormones and various hormonal diseases.

How is metabolic acidosis treated?

The primary goal of metabolic acidosis treatment should be correcting the underlying causes. The early the disorder is treated, the greater is the chance of recovery. The treatment options include the following

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References
Medscape Medical Reference

National Kidney Foundation


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