Acidosis is the condition wherein the body fluids have more acid (carbon dioxide) in the body and less base (bicarbonate). On the other hand, Alkalosis is a condition wherein the body fluids end up having more bases (alkali) as compared to acids. Alkalosis and acidosis are two opposite conditions. In order to function properly, our body needs to have a proper balance of acids and bases, regulated by our kidneys and lungs.
A highly alkaline reading is likely due to catabolism, the process of breakdown of body tissue which triggers excess nitrogen in the urine.
Given the acidic lifestyle from diet and our toxic environment, it would be difficult to have alkalosis, unless we eat nutrients, or drink water that is too alkaline for a long period of time. So the reality of being too alkaline (pH too high) exists as the product of, not the cause of, a disease.
Types and Common Causes of Alkalosis There are different types of alkalosis that can occur in a person’s body and the causes for each type vary. A brief explanation follows.
Respiratory Alkalosis: When a person has very low levels of carbon dioxide in the blood due to insufficient oxygen, fever, diseases of the liver, lung diseases, etc., it is known as respiratory alkalosis. Hyperventilation is one obvious symptom of this condition.
Metabolic Alkalosis: The levels of bicarbonate abnormally increase in the bloodstream. The main symptom is the decrease of salt levels in the body―sodium, chloride, potassium. A blood test would confirm the condition if the body pH level is above 7.45.
– Hypochloremic Alkalosis: When the level of chloride in the blood is extremely low and the body is losing chloride due to vomiting, the person is said to have hypochloremic alkalosis.
– Hypokalemic Alkalosis: This occurs when the body loses potassium, and the kidneys respond in a manner which results in alkalosis.
– Compensated Alkalosis: As mentioned earlier, it is important for the body to maintain a balance between the acids and bases in the body. Compensated alkalosis is a condition when the body tries to re-balance both these components, however, the balance between the carbon dioxide and bicarbonate levels continue to remain abnormal.
Some Symptoms of alkalosis are:
- Muscle spasms
- Muscular weakness
- Tremors in hands
- Muscle twitching
- Facial numbness along with tingling sensation
- Breathing problems and Irritation.
The mentioned symptoms need to be identified as soon as possible, and immediate medical assistance needs to be given to the patient to avoid further complications. It is best to get started with the possible tests, as the treatment would depend upon the type of alkalosis that the person has. The doctor will suggests certain blood tests, and depending upon the severity of the condition, he/she will advise a non-alkaline diet to get the levels of acids and bases balanced. Because the symptoms of alkalosis mimic symptoms of other conditions, it should not be self-diagnosed.
Common causes of alkalosis are:
- A high level of bicarbonate (a base) in your blood
- Excessive loss of acid from your blood
- Low carbon dioxide level (often caused by hyperventilation) Decreased carbon dioxide (an acid) or increased
- Bicarbonate (a base) levels in the blood may result in alkalosis.
- Unnatural means of alkalization such as too much Ionized alkaline water.
How to prevent Alkalosis
Reduce your risk for developing alkalosis by maintaining good health, eating a healthy diet, and staying hydrated.
- Choose foods that are high in nutrients such as fresh fruits and vegetables, focusing on potassium-rich foods such as carrots, bananas, milk, beans, spinach, and bran.
- Make sure you are well hydrated. Drink 8 to 10 glass of water daily. If you are an athlete or if you work out, drink water or electrolyte-replacement drinks at regular intervals to keep your electrolytes balanced.