Metabolic Acidosis Lab Values

Metabolic Acidosis Lab Values – Overview

Metabolic Acidosis is a condition caused by an imbalance of acid in the body. It occurs when the body produces too much acid or when the kidneys do not remove enough acid.

It also happens when your kidneys cannot remove acid from the body.

Metabolic Acidosis Lab Values will provide information about the standard lab values for this condition and how to maintain a balanced body pH.

Casues of Metabolic Acidosis

Metabolic acidosis develops through various diseases. Our body produces several types of metabolic acidosis. Let’s discuss each type briefly before we get on to the standard metabolic acidosis lab values.

1. Diabetic Acidosis

Diabetic Acidosis is also known as DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis). This type of acidosis develops when diabetes is uncontrolled. In this condition, the body produces substances called highly acidic ketones.

Diabetic ketoacidosis can occur in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, although it’s more common in type 1 diabetes. Due to the production of this substance, the level of acid in our body increases and causes diabetic acidosis.

2. Hyperchloremic Acidosis

Hyperchloremic acidosis occurs when sodium bicarbonate is lost, leading to an increase in chloride, which disrupts the acid-base balance. Due to the lack of sodium bicarbonate, hyperchloremic acidosis develops, a common type of metabolic acidosis.

3. Lactic Acidosis:

This acidosis occurs when your body starts building up extra lactic acid. Lactic acidosis is primarily caused by the build-up of lactic acid in the body’s tissues and blood, not specifically produced in red blood cells. It is also produced from the breakage of the muscle cells.

4. Renal Tubular Acidosis:

Renal Tubular Acidosis occurs when the kidneys are damaged. The kidneys’ main function is to remove acid and other waste products through urine.

When kidneys are damaged or not working properly, the amount of acid in the body increases, which causes renal tubular acidosis.

What are the Key symptoms of Metabolic Acidosis?

A person with metabolic acidosis may experience:

#1. Problems in breathing

#2. Weakness in body

#3. Constant headache

#4. Stomach pain

#5. Fast heartbeat

#6. Fruity-smelling breath (due to ketones in diabetic ketoacidosis) or other unusual odors may be a symptom of metabolic acidosis.

If the symptoms are severe, you need to visit the hospital immediately. If the metabolic acidosis symptoms are ignored, then it will start damaging other body organs. To keep your organs healthy, you should visit the hospital and get this condition diagnosed.

Metabolic Acidosis Lab Values

Since there are several types of metabolic acidosis, the actual type is based on the calculation of the anion and osmolar gap.

The laboratory procedure for identifying the type of metabolic acidosis is a bit complex. The testing is done in different phases before the final test report is handed over to the patient.

Anion gap: This test determines the chemical balance in your body. This test compares sodium, Chloride, and Bicarbonate particles with positively and negatively charged cells.

[Na] – ([Cl ] + [HCO3-])

Arterial Blood Gases: An arterial blood gases test is also done to check your blood’s pH, oxygen, and carbon dioxide levels.

Osmolar gap calculation is typically 2[Na+] + (Glucose/18) + (BUN/2.8) + (Ethanol/4.6) for systems using mg/dL; adjustments may be needed based on units used.

The osmolar gap means calculated plasma osmolality- measured plasma osmolality.

The anion gap and osmolar gap decide the type of metabolic acidosis. A high anion gap indicates a serious problem in your body. A normal or low anion gap typically indicates a non-anion gap metabolic acidosis and is not directly indicative of the loss of minerals and vitamins.

How do you Treat Metabolic Acidosis?

The simple treatment for metabolic acidosis is to identify its type and treat what causes it. You just need to balance the amount of acid in your body to save your bones and other body organs from failing faster.

The acid imbalance may damage your bones, kidneys, and muscles.

You are requested to treat this condition as soon as possible. If ignored, the person might get into a coma. The basic treatments to cure metabolic acidosis are listed below:

#1. Body detoxification

#2. Treatment may include administering intravenous fluids to help correct electrolyte imbalances

#3. Injecting sodium bicarbonate

#4. Insulin for diabetic patients

If the condition is severe, you might be hospitalized to treat it and rebalance the amount of acid in your body. Your doctor will better guide you after checking your condition.

What should we do to prevent this condition?

You can follow the steps below to prevent metabolic acidosis in your body.

#1. Limit alcohol consumption as it increases acid buildup in your body. When you consume alcohol, your body starts dehydrating, which increases the amount of acid.

#2. Drinking plenty of water is important for maintaining hydration, but prevention of metabolic acidosis also involves managing underlying conditions such as diabetes. Always keep an eye on the color of your urine.

#3. Control Diabetes if you suffer from type 1 diabetes. Take your medicines or insulin dosage regularly to keep the blood cells’ function balanced. It also keeps the acid level in your body balanced.

The Bottom Line:

Metabolic Acidosis is a complex body condition where you feel constant body pain or feel weak all the time. It is best to visit your doctor and discuss your condition.

He will then prescribe the required lab tests to check the actual diseases. One can prevent this condition from happening by simply following the basic treatments listed above.

See Also

Lab Values Nursing

Bun Lab Values

What are the Creatinine Lab Values

What are the Normal Lab Values

Current Version
August 16, 2022
Written By
Shubham Grover
March 20, 2024
Updated By
Andleeb Asghar, PharmD

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