• Definition

    Alkalosis is a condition in which the body fluids have excess base (alkali). This is the opposite of excess acid (acidosis).

    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    The kidneys and lungs maintain the proper balance of chemicals, called acids and bases, in the body. Decreased carbon dioxide (an acid) or increased bicarbonate (a base) levels make the body too alkaline, a condition called alkalosis.

    Respiratory alkalosis is caused by low carbon dioxide levels in the blood. This can be due to:

    • Fever
    • Being at a high altitude
    • Lack of oxygen
    • Liver disease
    • Lung disease, which causes you to breathe faster (hyperventilate)
    • Salicylate poisoning

    Metabolic alkalosis is caused by too much bicarbonate in the blood.

    Hypochloremic alkalosis is caused by an extreme lack or loss of chloride, which can occur with prolonged vomiting.

    Hypokalemic alkalosis is caused by the kidneys' response to an extreme lack or loss of potassium, which can occur when people take certain diuretic medications.

    Compensated alkalosis occurs when the body returns the acid - base balance to normal in cases of alkalosis, but bicarbonate and carbon dioxide levels remain abnormal.