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Lactic acidosis

 

Definition

Lactic acidosis is when lactic acid builds ups in the blood stream faster than it can be removed. Lactic acid is produced when oxygen levels in the body drop.

Causes

The most common cause is intense exercise. However, it can also be caused by certain diseases, such as sepsis, respiratory failure, AIDS, cancer, and kidney failure.

Metformin, a common medicine used to treat diabetes, can also cause lactic acidosis. People taking this medicine should have their electrolyte levels checked 1 - 2 weeks after starting it.

Symptoms
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
Signs and tests
  • Blood tests to check electrolyte levels
Support Groups

Expectations (prognosis)

Calling your health care provider

Complications

Treatments

The primary treatment for lactic acidosis is correcting the underlying medical problem that causes the condition.

Prevention

References

Oh MS. Evaluation of renal function, water, electrolytes and acid-base balance. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management of Laboratory Methods. 21st ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2006: chap 14.

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


Review Date: 11/16/2008
Reviewed By: Linda Vorvick, MD, Family Physician, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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