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Metabolic acidosis

  • Definition

    Metabolic acidosis is a condition in which there is too much acid in the body fluids.


    Alternative Names

    Acidosis - metabolic


    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    Metabolic acidosis occurs when the body produces too much acid, or when the kidneys are not removing enough acid from the body. There are several types of metablic acidosis:

    • Diabetic acidosis (also called diabetic ketoacidosis and DKA) develops when substances known as ketone bodies, which are acidic, build up during uncontrolled diabetes
    • Hyperchloremic acidosis results from excessive loss of sodium bicarbonate from the body, as can happen with severe diarrhea
    • Lactic acidosis is a buildup of lactic acid. It can be caused by:
      • Alcohol
      • Cancer
      • Exercising for a very long time
      • Liver failure
      • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
      • Medications such as salicylates
      • Prolonged lack of oxygen from shock, heart failure, or severe anemia
      • Seizures

    Other causes of metabolic acidosis include:

    • Kidney disease (distal tubular acidosis and proximal renal tubular acidosis)
    • Poisoning by aspirin, ethylene glycol (found in antifreeze), or methanol
    • Severe dehydration