It attack, or it can develop gradually

It attack, or it can develop gradually

It seems as though “Helen” has been afflicted with respiratory acidosis from the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the blood. The other symptoms that she is experiencing, the hypoventilation and sluggishness are due to the damage in her lungs from the emphysema. To regulate Helen’s breathing and carbon dioxide levels she needs to try to inhale long deep breaths and drug intervention may be needed as well. Respiratory acidosis is a condition in which a build-up of carbon dioxide in the blood produces a shift in the body’s pH balance and causes the body’s system to become more acidic.

This condition is brought about by a problem either involving the lungs and respiratory system or signals from the brain that control breathing. Respiratory acidosis is an acid imbalance in the body caused by a problem related to breathing. In the lungs, oxygen from inhaled air is exchanged for carbon dioxide from the blood. This process takes place between the alveoli and the blood vessels that connect to them. When this exchange of oxygen for carbon dioxide is damaged, the excess carbon dioxide forms an acid in the blood.The condition can be dire with a sudden attack, or it can develop gradually as lung function deteriorates. Respiratory acidosis can be caused by diseases or conditions that affect the lungs themselves, such as emphysema, as in Helen’s case, chronic bronchitis, asthma, or severe pneumonia.

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Drugs like anesthetics, sedatives, and narcotics can interfere with breathing by depressing the respiratory center in the brain. Head injuries or brain tumors can also interfere with signals sent by the brain to the lungs.Such neuromuscular diseases as Guillain-Barre syndrome or myasthenia gravis can impair the muscles around the lungs making it more difficult to breathe. (Resp.

Acid) The most notable symptom will be slowed or difficult breathing. Headache, drowsiness, restlessness, tremor, and confusion may also occur. A rapid heart rate, changes in blood pressure, and swelling of blood vessels in the eyes may be seen upon examination. Severe cases of respiratory acidosis can lead to coma and or death. Respiratory acidosis may be suspected based on symptoms.

A blood sample to test for pH and arterial blood gases can be used to confirm the diagnosis. The pressure of carbon dioxide in the blood will be high, usually over 45 mmHg. Treatment centers on correcting the underlying condition that caused the acidosis.

In patients with chronic lung diseases, this may include use of a bronchodilator or steroid drugs. Supplemental oxygen supplied through a mask or small tubes inserted into the nostrils may be used in some conditions, however, an oversupply of oxygen in patients with lung disease can make the acidosis worse. Antibiotics may be used to treat infections.If the acidosis is related to an overdose of narcotics, or a drug overdose is suspected, the patient may be given a dose of naloxone, a drug that will block the respiratory-depressing effects of narcotics. Use of mechanical ventilation like a respirator may be necessary.

If the respiratory acidosis has triggered the body to compensate by developing metabolic alkalosis, symptoms of that condition may need to be treated as well. (Resp. Acid) If the underlying condition that caused the respiratory acidosis is treated and corrected, there may be no long term effects.Respiratory acidosis may occur chronically along with the development of lung disease or respiratory failure. In these severe conditions, the patient may require the assistance of a respirator or ventilator. In extreme cases, the patient may experience coma and death.

Patients with chronic lung diseases and those who receive sedatives and narcotics need to be monitored closely for development of respiratory acidosis. Being someone that suffers from asthma and seasonal bronchitis I can use the information that I have learned from this lesson to evaluate my symptoms closely when these conditions bother me.For example when I get bronchitis or have an asthma attack, I sometimes feel tired and lethargic and I suspect that it is from the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen going wrong and then acid builds up in my blood causing the pH to change.

Upon experiencing these symptoms I feel that I am better informed and will know how to handle the situation properly. Works cited Elaine N. Marieb, Katja Hoehn. Human Anatomy & Physiology.

San Francisco, California: Benjamin Cummings, 2007 Respiratory Acidosis. Wael El Minaoui, MBBS; Zab Mosenifar, MD. Jul 29, 2011. http://emedicine. medscape.

com/article/301574-overview. 9/8/2011

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