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Respiratory alkalosis

 

Definition

Respiratory alkalosis is a condition marked by low levels of carbon dioxide in the blood due to breathing excessively.

See also: Alkalosis

Alternative Names

Alkalosis - respiratory

Causes

Common causes include:

Any lung disease that leads to shortness of breath can also cause respiratory alkalosis.

Symptoms

The symptoms may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Light-headedness
  • Numbness of the hands and feet
Signs and tests
Support Groups

Expectations (prognosis)

What will happen depends on the condition that is causing the respiratory alkalosis.

Calling your health care provider

Call your health care provider if you have any symptoms of lung disease, such as chronic cough or shortness of breath.

Complications

Seizures may occur if the alkalosis is extremely severe. This is very rare.

Treatments

Treatment is aimed at the condition that causes respiratory alkalosis. Breathing into a paper bag -- or using a mask that causes you to re-breathe carbon dioxide -- sometimes helps reduce symptoms.

Prevention

References

Seifter JL. Acid base disorders. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier. 2007: chap 119.


Review Date: 8/8/2009
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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