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Acid-Base Disorders Specialist

Renal Clinic of Houston

Nephrology located in Katy, TX & Memorial City, Houston, TX

Acid-base disorders pose a serious threat to your health because your body can't function when its pH leaves the normal range. The board-certified physicians at the Renal Clinic of Houston have extensive experience diagnosing and treating acid-base disorders associated with kidney disease and electrolyte disorders. If you have any questions about acid-base disorders or need to schedule an appointment, call the office in Memorial City in Houston, Katy, or North Cypress, Texas, or use the online booking feature today.

Acid-Base Disorders Q&A

How does the body maintain an acid-base balance?

chronic kidney disease

Your body maintains a very tight acid-base balance to protect the health and function of your organs. Acidity and alkalinity (referred to as a base) are measured by the pH scale, with zero being the most acidic and 14 representing a highly alkaline (basic) fluid.

Your blood normally stays in a very tight pH range of 7.35 to 7.45. The body immediately adjusts your pH if it goes even slightly beyond this range. In some parts of your body, like your stomach, the pH range varies, but body fluids overall have the same pH as blood.

The job of maintaining an acid-base balance primarily falls to your kidneys and lungs. Your kidneys regulate pH by removing excess bases and restoring acids when the pH drops. Your lungs can increase the blood's pH by exhaling more carbon dioxide.

Your body also uses proteins and phosphates to buffer the acid-base balance. Proteins help to balance changes in your blood, while phosphates support the pH of fluids inside cells.

What are acid-base disorders?

An acid-base disorder occurs when your blood pH goes outside the strictly controlled range. These disorders belong to four categories:

Metabolic acidosis

Metabolic acidosis occurs when your pH drops (becomes more acidic) due to kidney disease. When kidney disease interferes with normal kidney function, wastes and toxins accumulate in your blood that severely alter the acid-base balance. Other conditions that cause metabolic acidosis include liver failure and ketoacidosis (caused by diabetes).

Respiratory acidosis

Respiratory acidosis develops when conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, pneumonia, or muscular dystrophy affect the amount of carbon dioxide you exhale.

Metabolic alkalosis

Alkalosis occurs when your pH rises. You may develop metabolic alkalosis from prolonged vomiting, electrolyte disorders, liver disease, overactive adrenal glands, and taking diuretics. Congestive heart failure also causes metabolic alkalosis.

Respiratory alkalosis

Your pH rises when you exhale too much carbon dioxide. Respiratory alkalosis most often occurs when you hyperventilate.

What symptoms indicate an acid-base disorder?

The symptoms of alkalosis include:

  • Muscle spasms, twitching, or tremors
  • Numbness and tingling in fingers and toes
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness

Acidosis also causes vomiting, nausea, and confusion, as well as: 

  • Fatigue
  • Fast heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid breathing

Severe acidosis may also cause heart problems.

How are acid-base disorders treated?

Treating an acid-base disorder involves many different approaches and medications, depending on the type of imbalance and its cause.

The team at the Renal Clinic of Houston specializes in treating acid-base disorders caused by kidney disease and electrolyte disorders. Your provider determines the best treatment for your acid-base disorder after determining the cause and extent of your kidney damage.

To get expert care for an acid-base imbalance, call the Renal Clinic of Houston or book an appointment online today.