Lactic acidosis is a condition in which the body has too much lactic acid circulating in the blood and tissues. It happens when lactic acid builds up faster than the liver and kidneys can remove it from the body. Lactic acidosis can occur due to underlying causes such as cardiac arrest, congestive heart failure, sepsis, acetaminophen usage, and chronic alcoholism. Temporary lactic acidosis can be caused by excessive, intense exercise and can usually be treated with rest and hydration. A fasting blood test is required to properly diagnose lactic acidosis. Treatment options are intended to treat the underlying cause, but center around increasing oxygen flow to the tissues and hydrating with electrolytes.
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Problems With Breathing
With lactic acidosis, the body is trying to increase its oxygen levels so it can return to homeostasis. One way of doing this is to increase the breathing rate. Since the body is trying to lower lactic acid by increasing oxygen, patients with lactic acidosis often have problems with breathing resulting in rapid, shallow breathing. This condition is called tachypnea and can worsen conditions if left untreated. Normal respiration rates for adults is between ten and twenty breaths per minute, so anything over twenty is considered tachypnea. Some patients will notice feeling like they cannot take in enough air or they are short of breath, while others may not notice this symptom at all. Blue fingertips and lips often occur when an individual is suffering from tachypnea due to a lack of oxygen flow to the extremities.
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