What is Metabolic Acidosis?

Metabolic Acidosis is a condition that arises when there is an imbalance between levels of acids and base in the body(1, 2). This usually happens when the body is making excessive acids, which it is not able to get rid of or when there is not enough amount of bases in the body to counter the acid levels. This imbalance results in various chemical reactions and body processes working in a way that causes a variety of problems.


In some cases, metabolic acidosis can potentially be serious, but in majority of cases it is mild. Metabolic acidosis is definitely a treatable condition; however, the underlying cause should be identified first to design a treatment plan best suited for the individual.


Some of the symptoms of metabolic acidosis that can be observed in an individual include: shallow breathing, which at times can be rapid; persistent fatigue; mental confusion; frequent bouts of headaches; feeling sleepy always; poor appetite; yellowing of the eyes and skin; and tachycardia(3).

It is always vital for metabolic acidosis to be diagnosed in its early stages for early and prompt treatment. This article provides information on the various tests that are done to diagnose Metabolic Acidosis.


What Tests are Used to Diagnose Metabolic Acidosis?

To diagnose metabolic acidosis the following tests can be done so that the exact treatment strategy can be figured out:

Arterial Blood Gas(3). This is a test, which measures the pH scale of the blood along with the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide. If there is more acid in the blood, then the pH will be less than 7.0. This is yet another definitive method to diagnose metabolic acidosis.

Anion Gap(3). This test is done to check the chemical balance in the blood. It gives a measurement of the cations and anions in the blood. An anion gap is the difference between the number of anions and cations. If an individual has metabolic acidosis, then the anion gap will be much large than normal. This is the best test to diagnose metabolic acidosis.

Urinalysis(3). Urinalysis can be done to diagnose certain forms of metabolic acidosis, like ketoacidosis. Urinalysis can also be done to identify any problems with the kidneys, which may be contributing towards the body becoming more acidic. Alcohol poisoning can also be diagnosed through urinalysis. Ketoacidosis in diabetics can be identified by doing a simple urine test at the comfort of the home by using test strips, which are readily available over the counter at various pharmacy stores.


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Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:


Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: June 24, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer


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