Metabolic Alkalosis is a problem that occurs when our blood becomes more alkaline than required. Our body is at its best when the acidic- alkaline of our blood is balanced and is somewhat inclined towards alkaline. The state is quite opposite to that of metabolic acidosis, which occurs when there is an excess amount of acid present in the body fluids. Alkalosis occurs mainly in two situations:
- When there is an excess of alkali- producing bicarbonate ions, also known as Chloride-responsive Alkalosis
- Very less number of acid making ions of hydrogen, also known as Chloride- resistant Alkalosis.
Many times you might not feel any signs or symptoms of Alkalosis and hence it might get unnoticed.
Lungs are the organs that try to strike a balance between acids and alkalis in our body by inhaling or exhaling the right amount of Carbon-dioxide in our body. Kidneys also play a vital role in controlling the amount of bicarbonate ions present in our body. In the absence of proper functioning of these organs, a proper treatment is required.
Our present article aims at providing awareness regarding Metabolic Alkalosis, its types, effects, causes and it’s treatment.
So without further ado, let’s get started.
What Are The Different Alkalosis And Their Causes?
There are generally four kinds of Metabolic Alkalosis. Before going further let us first understand each one of them in detail.
It mainly occurs where there is an absence of sufficient amount of Carbon-dioxide present in the veins of the blood. Some of its main reasons are
- Machines that help in increasing the rate of breathing more than normal, accompanied by anxiety.
- High rise in body temperature.
- Insufficient amount of oxygen in the body.
- Intoxication by aspirin.
- Going towards high altitudes.
- Due to Lung or liver problems.
The reason for its occurrence is gaining too much basicity in the body or the loss of acid ions. It’s causes are:
- Too much vomiting might lead to the loss of electrolyte in the body.
- Using too much diuretics.
- Adrenal problems.
- Excessive loss of sodium of potassium in a short span of time.
- Using too many antacids.
- Intake of bicarbonates or baking soda that increases the basicity.
- Consuming too many alcoholic beverages.
This occurs due to the absence of, or insufficient amount of potassium present in the body. We generally get enough potassium in our diet but even if there isn’t a sufficient amount, we are not much likely to suffer from potassium deficiency. Main reasons for its excessive loss are sweating, kidney problems or diarrhea. Right amount of potassium helps in proper functioning of the heart, kidneys and other systems of our body.
The main reason for this is, sudden decrease in chloride levels in your body. This might happen due to too much sweating or vomiting. Chloride is responsible for maintaining the balance between the body fluids and helps in digestion.
What Are The Symptoms Of Metabolic Alkalosis?
Kidneys are a vital organ that maintains the PH level of our body and prevents it from getting too acidic or alkaline. However, there might be certain circumstances that might increase the PH level and lead to Alkalosis. We all are very well aware that our stomach contains Hydrochloric acid that aids in digestion. When you vomit too much, then some amount of acid might be eliminated and lead to Metabolic Alkalosis due to the loss of acid ions. It normally does not cause any danger to life and also does not have a lasting effect on the body, once treated. Conditions that affect other organs of your body such as heart, kidneys and liver might also affect alkalinity of the body.
But how will you get to know if you are suffering from this problem?
Here are a few signs and symptoms if you experience, there are probable chances, you might be suffering from Metabolic Alkalosis.
- Getting confused.
- Shivering and Tremors.
- Experiencing Weakness.
- Pain in muscles.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Numbness in certain parts of the body.
- Irregular heartbeats.
- Even coma in extreme cases.
These are some of the symptoms of Alkalosis. However, in certain cases you might not experience any of these and your problem might get unnoticed or cause pain in the muscles. In case the pain becomes too common or severe it’s better to consult a doctor. Though it is not that harmful, it is necessary to seek medical care at the right time, as it can lead to many other severe problems.
How Can Metabolic Alkalosis Be Treated?
In the course of treatment, an intravenous line (IV) to provide the fluid is introduced along with the other substances, that involve:
Saline infusion:It helps in balancing the acid- base in the body.
- Replacement of potassium: Potassium chloride, when introduced in the body absorbs the distal nephron chloride and changes it for bicarbonate ions, this helps in maintaining the balance.
- Replacement of Magnesium: Like in the potassium replacement, this therapy also exchanges the ions and reduces the alkalinity of the body.
- Introducing chloride ions: This also helps in treating Alkalosis.
- HCL infusion: Alkalosis occurs due to the loss of acidic ions. Hence, introducing HCL acid that also helps in digestion will solve the problem.
- Stopping the overuse of diuretics or other such other drugs.
What Are The Preventive Measures For Metabolic Alkalosis?
You can easily avoid Alkalosis, by having a healthy lifestyle that includes a healthy diet and drinking lots of fluids. Having the right amounts of nutrients and minerals will prevent you from any kind of deficiencies. You need to consume foods that have the right amount of potassium content in it. These vegetables include:
In order to keep yourself hydrated you need to:
- Drink enough amounts of water, at least 10-12 glasses a day.
- Performing exercising and consuming fluids, juices after that.
- You can also consume electrolyte replacement fluids for advanced workouts.
- Avoid such drinks that have high sugar content, as they might lead to dehydration.
- Avoid any kind of caffeine related beverages.
One thing you need to bear in mind is that, if you are feeling thirsty it means you are dehydrated, and due to this you might lose ions from your body. In case you cannot eat enough potassium foods, do ensure that you drink enough water or such other drinks.
There are many types of Alkalosis, among which metabolic Alkalosis is the most prevalent one. It generally occurs due to the disbalance of vital electrolytes in the body. It can cause irritation, muscle pain, heart problems and significant impact on the body. In extreme conditions it might also lead to coma. Hence, it is very important that you do not ignore any such signs and symptoms if you have any and consult your doctor as soon as possible. Taking the right treatment at the right time can completely cure your problem. It is true that prevention is always better than cure. So, if you follow certain preventive measures such as keeping yourself hydrated, consuming potassium rich foods etc. If you follow these measures you are less likely to suffer from Alkalosis.