The normal pH value for the body fluids is between pH 7.35 and 7.45. When the pH value of body fluids is below 7.35, the condition is called acidosis, and when the pH is above 7.45, it is called alkalosis. (Tortora, G., Derrickson, B., 2014)
The major effect of acidosis is depression of the central nervous system. When the pH of the blood falls below 7.35, the central nervous system malfunctions, and the individual becomes disoriented and possibly comatose as the condition worsens. Causes for acidosis include things such as; obesity, disease of the airway and diseases involving the chest. (Hadjiliadis, 2014)
A major effect of alkalosis is hyperexcitability of the nervous system. Peripheral nerves are affected first, resulting in…show more content… For example, the kidneys are not effective in compensating for respiratory alkalosis that occurs in response to hyperventilation triggered by emotions, which usually begins quickly and subsides within minutes or hours. However, if alkalosis results from staying at a high altitude over a 2 or 3 day period, the kidneys play a significant role in helping to compensate.
Metabolic acidosis results from all conditions that decrease the pH of the body fluids below 7.35 and HCO3- levels are <22 mEq/L, with the exception of conditions resulting from altered function of the respiratory system. As hydrogen ions accumulate in the body fluids, buffers first resist a decline in pH. If the buffers cannot compensate for the increase in hydrogen ions, the respiratory center helps regulate the body fluid pH. The reduced pH stimulates the respiratory center, which causes hyperventilation. During hyperventilation, carbon dioxide is eliminated at a greater rate. The elimination of carbon dioxide also eliminates excess hydrogen ions and helps maintain the pH of the body fluids within a normal range. (Angus, 2006)
If metabolic acidosis persists for many hours and if the kidneys are functional, the kidneys can also help compensate for metabolic acidosis. They begin to secrete hydrogen ions at a greater rate and increase the rate of bicarbonate ion reabsorption. Symptoms of metabolic acidosis appear if the respiratory and renal systems are not able to maintain the pH