Respiratory Acidosis: Signs, Causes, and Treatment

The respiratory acidosis does not develop out of its own. Usually, it is accompanied by other medical conditions like a ventilatory failure or respiratory failure.

Respiratory Acidosis Symptoms

The respiratory acidosis happens when your lungs are unable to remove the carbon dioxide of the body out completely. The bodily fluids of the body like blood has to have a pH of 7 or s little bit more than that. Accumulation of carbon dioxide usually means that your blood will be acidic than normal.

This condition does not develop out of its own. Usually, it is accompanied by other medical conditions like a ventilatory failure or respiratory failure.

The lungs have the crucial job to take in fresh oxygen from the outside and pass it on the blood. The oxygen is needed in the cells in order for them to live and the blood as the carrier has the job to transfer it there. The carbon dioxide which is a waste byproduct produced by the cells is sucked up by the respiratory system and has the job to let it out in the environment. In respiratory acidosis, the lungs fail, and this might lead to many diseases and respiratory issues.

Forms of Respiratory Acidosis

There is also two forms of respiratory acidosis, and it is chronic respiratory acidosis and acute respiratory acidosis.

The acute respiratory acidosis needs medical attention immediately, and at times it is considered an emergency case because it occurs so fast and might be fatal if left untreated. Meabwhile, cronic respiratory acidosis develops for a long time and might go full blown in the future.

The chronic form has no symptoms but it might worsen your other medical issues and might complicate some matters.

Initial Symptoms

These are the initial symptoms of respiratory acidosis but are not limited to:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness and
  • Restlessness

If the initial symptoms are left untreated for some time, it might lead to the following serious symptoms but not limited to:

  • Severe fatigue without any reason at all
  • Confusion
  • Coma
  • Difficulty in breathing

The chronic form does not have any significant symptoms, but it can give subtle hints like the following signs but not limited to:

  • Insomnia
  • Hard time memorizing
  • Sudden mood change


The respiratory system and the kidney organs are the ones responsible for replenishing your body with fresh oxygen and getting rid of the by-product carbon dioxide in your system. Your kidneys are also the ones responsible for maintaining the neutral pH level of your blood.

It does not develop on its own it needs an underlying medical condition or a bad lifestyle habit before it bursts out as a full-blown respiratory acidosis. Some causes are the following but not limited to;

  • Edema
  • Pulmonary diseases
  • Asthma
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Scoliosis
  • Multiple sclerosis

The cause of acute respiratory acidosis can be found below but not limited to:

  • Pneumonia
  • Certain medical issues that indirectly or directly affect the lungs and its functions
  • Weak muscles
  • The constant choking
  • From medicine overdose
  • Some heart-related illness

The Treatment

There are many forms of treatment for respiratory acidosis. The causes of the condition come in many forms, and they are usually caused by underlying problems. Its occurrence is only the manifestation.

To treat the condition, we have to get to the root of the problem which is the underlying issues and treats them. Surely, after this, the lungs can combat the difficult mechanics of this condition.

For the chronic form

In the chronic form, all you need to do is to treat and regulate the underlying medical concerns. The main goal of the treatment is to widen the airways always. You would need medicine to treat your infection for sure, diuretics, medicines that will expand your airways, medicines to reduce inflammation, and mechanical ventilation when the case is severe already.

The Outlook for Respiratory Acidosis

The long term outlook of respiratory acidosis is quite difficult to imagine because technically, the condition is caused by many forms and medical issues. The outlook will really depend on the medical condition that is plaguing you.

The acute form is a different story because a lot of incidents and occurrences of acute respiratory acidosis is always immediate, quick and sometimes fatal. Seeking medical attention immediately is needed in these types of situation. If you are having a difficult time breathing, and if you have any feeling like drowning, you would need to go to a doctor and get treated immediately.


The best and most potent way of preventing the acute and chronic form of respiratory acidosis is by avoiding the underlying medical conditions of it from flourishing.

Prevent bad hats and bad lifestyle choices from plaguing your life because these sometimes are the causes of why your underlying conditions happen in the first place. Stop smoking, and live an active lifestyle with an inclination to eat healthy food. Maintain a healthy body mass index too. A normal body weight that is normal for your stature is key in keeping those medical conditions at bay.

Caution on Drugs

Be cautious of the drugs and sedative that you are going to intake. These sedatives sometimes trigger some underlying conditions. Talk to your doctor about the kind of sedative that might be suitable for your condition. There are drugs that might also possibly interact with the drugs that you are currently taking for this condition. Make sure that you let your doctor know about the current medication that you are having and also the past medication that you have been taking. The preceding information above is crucial for the doctors to concoct perfect sets of medications for your treatment.

There drugs that can minimize the symptoms but it is recommended that you take first the medications of your underlying medical conditions before resorting to those drugs.

The respiratory acidosis is when your lungs are unable to remove the carbon dioxide of the body out completely. This can be fatal if left untreated.

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