Respiratory Acidosis Lab Values

Respiratory Acidosis Lab Values – Overview

Respiratory Acidosis is a condition in which the lungs are not able to remove Co2 produced by the body. An excess of CO2 in the body decreases the pH of the blood, leading to acidosis. The fluids become acidic, and the condition is called respiratory acidosis.

Respiratory Acidosis Lab Values and everything you want to know about this test are given in this article.

What is Respiratory Acidosis?

Respiratory Acidosis occurs when your lungs can’t remove Co2 produced by the body properly. Other than this, respiratory diseases such as emphysema, chronic obstructive airway disease, bronchopneumonia, and many other diseases cause respiratory acidosis.

Besides this, some drugs affect the overall functionality of respiratory diseases. If you take such medicines, you’ll experience breathing problems, heart burning, etc. It is also a part of respiratory acidosis.

Types of Respiratory Acidosis

Respiratory Acidosis is primarily categorized into acute and chronic respiratory acidosis. There is no widely recognized third category combining both. More information about the types of respiratory acidosis is given below:

Type 1: Acute Respiratory Acidosis

Acute respiratory acidosis is a condition in which the body suddenly stops removing CO2. It acts like a heart attack; it comes faster and requires quick medical treatment.

This type of respiratory acidosis requires emergency medical services to save the sufferer.

Type 2: Chronic Respiratory Acidosis

Chronic respiratory acidosis is typically caused by long-term respiratory conditions that impair the ability to remove CO2 from the body, not directly by chemoreceptors’ sensitivity. The chemoreceptors are responsible to provide gases to your blood.

They decide which gases are crucial and which are not. When these receptors become less sensitive, chronic respiratory acidosis disease occurs.

Chronic respiratory acidosis may develop gradually, with symptoms including confusion, fatigue, and shortness of breath.

What are the symptoms of Respiratory Acidosis?

If you develop respiratory acidosis, your body will show up with the signs below. The following symptoms are acute respiratory acidosis.

  • Anxiety
  • Headache
  • Breathlessness
  • Restlessness
  • Blurry vision
  • Personality changes
  • Sleeplessness

As noted above, when the person is developing chronic respiratory acidosis, no symptoms may be noticed. However, the following signs may show up gradually:

  • Polycythemia
  • Memory loss
  • Problems to co-ordinate
  • Constant headache and sleepiness
  • Heart failure

What causes Respiratory Acidosis?

The lungs and kidneys control the pH of blood cells in the human body. The lungs remove Co2 from the body through breathing, while the kidneys remove excess acids through urination.

Respiratory acidosis develops when the lungs cannot remove enough CO2 from the body. It is not directly caused by kidney problems; however, the kidneys can compensate for the acidosis over time. Your doctor would prescribe you several blood tests to confirm the type of disease.

Respiratory Acidosis Lab Values:

The respiratory acidosis report includes the number of arterial gases, including pH, PaCo2, PaO2, HCO3, O2, etc. The report includes the amount of all of these gases. The normal values of arterial gases are as follows:

  • pH: 7.35 to 7.45 (Average Value of pH: 7.40)
  • PaCo2: 35 to 45 mmHg
  • PaO2: 75 to 100 mmHg
  • HCO3: 22 to 26 mEq/L
  • The normal value for oxygen saturation (SpO2) should be greater than or equal to 95%, but for arterial oxygen partial pressure (PaO2), the range is 75 to 100 mmHg.

These are the normal respiratory acidosis lab values. Make sure to discuss these values with your doctor. Your doctor would check the reports and then decide the type of treatment or medicines to cure the disease.

What is the Procedure for Diagnosing Respiratory Acidosis?

The condition of respiratory acidosis is directly associated with the pH of our blood. Firstly, the doctor would notice the pH imbalance of your blood. If the doctor finds an imbalance in blood pH, he will further check the severity of this imbalance, and at last, he will identify the cause behind this condition.

Thankfully, modern doctors have several tools to examine the pH and other gases of blood quickly.

While a high CO2 (PaCO2) level in blood gas measurement indicates respiratory acidosis, for a comprehensive understanding, diagnosis also considers blood pH and bicarbonate (HCO3-) levels.

Moreover, the electrolyte testing process also helps diagnose respiratory acidosis. This report checks the number of minerals in our blood, such as chloride, bicarbonate, potassium, sodium, etc.

Two or more minerals show high or low values if the person has an acid imbalance.

Lastly, X-rays and lung function tests would further clarify the doubts about respiratory acidosis. These reports are done at the last.

Treatments for Respiratory Acidosis

How to treat Acute Respiratory Acidosis?

Acute respiratory disease is a medical emergency that must be treated quickly. Your doctor would give you life support until he finds the reason behind it. You would be given artificial ventilation through a machine to regulate your respiratory system.

How to treat Chronic Respiratory Acidosis?

If a person is suffering from chronic respiratory acidosis, the doctor would first clear the airways so that he can breathe properly. Chronic respiratory acidosis can be treated through medications such as antibiotics.

Diuretics are used to manage fluid overload in the body, particularly in heart failure, but are not a direct treatment for respiratory acidosis. Treatment of chronic respiratory acidosis focuses on improving ventilation and treating the underlying respiratory condition. Mechanical ventilation will also be given to clear the airways. Since the disease is related to the respiratory system, it must be cured faster.

The Bottom Line:

Respiratory Acidosis is a life-threatening condition if not treated on time. The disease has many causes, but one can’t figure out what causes this problem.

However, once the problem is identified, get the right treatment to regulate your respiratory system. To keep your respiratory system strong, smoke less, eat healthy food, and do regular workouts.

See Also

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Potassium Lab Values

Metabolic Acidosis Lab Values

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What are the Normal Lab Values

Current Version
September 12, 2022
Written By
Shubham Grover
March 18, 2024
Updated By
Franco Cuevas, MD

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