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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Respiratory Acidosis
      Category : Health Centers > Respiratory System (Lungs and Breathing)

Respiratory Acidosis

Alternate Names : Hypercapnia

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Acidosis describes a condition in which the amount of acid in the body is increased. When this condition is caused by not breathing well or fast enough, it is called respiratory acidosis.

What is going on in the body?

The kidneys and lungs work to keep the level of acid in the body at a constant level. The kidneys can get rid of acid in the urine and the lungs can get rid of acid in the form of carbon dioxide gas. Many different conditions can cause the lungs to not breathe out enough carbon dioxide.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

There are many possible causes of respiratory acidosis, including:

  • lung disease, such as severe emphysema, asthma, pneumonia, or chronic bronchitis
  • blockage of the windpipe, such as from a foreign body
  • a lack of the urge to breathe, which may occur in the use of narcotics and strong sleeping pills, stroke, or other brain damage
  • weakness or paralysis of the chest muscles
  • sleep apnea, a condition that causes people to stop breathing when they are sleeping
  • severe obesity, which makes breathing harder


    Next section


    Respiratory Acidosis: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Adam Brochert, MD
    Reviewer: Eric Berlin, MD
    Date Reviewed: 09/04/01

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