Alkalosis is a condition when the blood contains too much base or alkali due to a decrease in acid levels in the body. The cause could be due to decreased levels of carbon dioxide, electrolyte chloride , or potassium.
The balance of acid and base levels is characterized by a normal pH value of 7.35–7.45. A pH value that is less than normal indicates that there is more acid in the body. Conversely, a pH value that is greater than normal indicates more alkaline content in the body.
Alkalosis cure depends on how quickly the disease is diagnosed and treated. The sooner it is treated, the better the cure rate for alkalosis will be.
Causes of Alkalosis
The balance of acid-base levels in the body is regulated by the lungs, kidneys, and chemical buffer systems in the body. When there is a disturbance in the acid and base balance , many organ functions are disrupted.
Alkalosis occurs when the alkaline level in the blood is higher than the acid level. Based on the cause, alkalosis is divided into two, namely:
Metabolic alkalosis occurs when the body lacks a lot of acid, or even an excess of alkaline substances. This condition can be caused by:
- Excessive and prolonged vomiting until the body loses electrolytes (especially chloride and potassium)
- The discharge of stomach acid from the gastric tube as part of a treatment procedure performed in a hospital
- Excessive consumption of certain medications, such as diuretics , antacids, aspirin, or laxatives
- Cystic fibrosis
- Kidney illness
- Adrenal gland disease
- Consuming too much bicarbonate , such as baking soda
- Alcohol addiction
Respiratory alkalosis occurs when the bloodstream does not contain enough carbon dioxide. A number of conditions that can cause respiratory alkalosis are:
- Breathing too fast (hyperventilation) due to panic attacks , pain, lung disease, lack of oxygen in the blood ( hypoxia ), or aspirin poisoning
- Have a high fever
- Suffering from liver disease
- Being in a high place
Symptoms of Alkalosis
Symptoms of alkalosis can vary from person to person. In the early stages, symptoms can include:
- Numbness in the face, hands or feet
- Body feels weak
- Tense and twitching muscles
- Tremor in hand
- Easy to get angry
- Anxiety disorder that causes rapid breathing and tingling in the face, hands, or feet
In some cases, alkalosis can occur without any symptoms at all. However, in severe cases, alkalosis can cause muscle spasms that are accompanied by pain (tetany).
When to go to the doctor
Check with your doctor if you experience dizziness, difficulty concentrating, or difficulty breathing. Symptoms of alkalosis can mimic those of other conditions, so it is important to get tested immediately to determine the cause.
Seek immediate medical attention if symptoms of alkalosis worsen or more serious symptoms develop, such as:
- Loss of consciousness
- Severe shortness of breath
The diagnosis of alkalosis begins with a question and answer session by the doctor regarding the patient's medical history and symptoms. After that, a complete physical examination will be performed to confirm the symptoms.
To make a diagnosis, the doctor will perform a series of examinations, namely:
tests Tests performed include blood gas analysis tests and blood electrolyte levels.
Urine test or urinalysis
This test by taking a urine sample aims to check electrolyte levels and urine pH.
Treatment of alkalosis aims to treat the cause and restore the acid-base balance. The following is the treatment of alkalosis based on the type and cause:
To treat metabolic alkalosis, the doctor will provide replacement of body fluids and electrolytes through an IV. Meanwhile, in alkalosis due to potassium deficiency, doctors can give potassium tablets.
Metabolic alkalosis with mild symptoms does not always require medical attention. On the other hand, if the symptoms are severe, the patient must be hospitalized to be given special intravenous fluids.
For metabolic alkalosis caused by overuse of the drug, the doctor will ask the patient to stop taking the drug.
The first treatment carried out by the doctor is to make sure the patient has sufficient oxygen levels and return carbon dioxide levels back to normal. The trick is to provide oxygen through an oxygen mask.
In respiratory alkalosis caused by hyperventilation due to pain, the doctor will prescribe pain medication. Meanwhile, in respiratory alkalosis caused by a panic attack, the doctor will advise the patient to breathe more slowly and deeply, to help relieve symptoms.
While providing treatment, the doctor will observe the patient's vital signs, such as body temperature, pulse, respiratory rate, and blood pressure.
Complications of Alkalosis
Alkalosis can cause complications if not treated properly. Some of the complications that can occur are:
- Heart rhythm disturbances ( arrhythmias ), such as a heartbeat that is too fast, too slow, or irregular
- Imbalances in blood electrolyte levels, such as low potassium levels
Efforts to prevent alkalosis are to avoid the cause and maintain a healthy body, for example by:
- Eating a healthy, complete, and nutritionally balanced diet
- Eat foods high in potassium to prevent electrolyte deficiency
- Drink enough water, especially after exercising
- Limiting consumption of caffeinated , fizzy, and alcoholic beverages
- Quit smoking