What Is Lactic Acidosis?

Written by:

Obi Obadike

Obi Obadike

Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert, CFT, SFN, M.S. Founder & CEO – Ethical Inc.
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What is lactic acidosis? It is when you have too much acid in the body. If you have too much acid, it causes an imbalance in the body’s PH level which is alkaline instead of acidic. Lactate buildup happens when there is not enough oxygen in the muscles to break down the glucose and glycogen.

What is lactic acidosis? Photo credit: iStock-Sohel Parvez Haque

It is important to understand there are two types of lactate acidosis which are Type A and Type B.

Type A lactate acidosis is caused by a lowered amount of blood flow in the tissue which is called hypoperfusion.

Type B lactate acidosis is caused by an impaired cell function and lowered blood flow that’s limited.

Some of the symptoms of lactic acidosis which potentially can lead to a medical emergency is the following:

  • Fruity smelling breath
  • Trouble breathing or rapid breath.
  • Jaundice which is the yellowing of the skin and eyes. And this is caused by liver impairment.
  • Body weakness
  • Muscle cramps or pain
  • Extreme Fatigue
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort

Some Of The Underlying causes of lactic acidosis are:

  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • HIV
  • Severe infection- sepsis
  • Consuming too much alcohol
  • Malaria
  • Cholera
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Treatment Options and Testing

Some of the common treatment options for lactic acidosis are increasing oxygen to the tissues or giving IV fluids which is used to lower lactic acid levels. One of the best ways to do a diagnostic test when it comes to lactic acidosis is through a fasting blood test.

A doctor can advise you not to eat or drink anything for 8 to 10 hours before taking the test. And you will also be advised to lower your physical activity level before you take the test. When taking a blood test, it can be taken from the back of the hand.

The Bottom Line is lactic acidiosis when you have too much acid in your body. If you have too much it can cause an imbalance in the body’s PH level.

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  1. Smith ZR, Horng M, Rech MA. Medication-Induced Hyperlactatemia and Lactic Acidosis: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Pharmacotherapy. 2019 Sep;39(9):946-963. doi: 10.1002/phar.2316. Epub 2019 Aug 29. PMID: 31361914.
  2. Science Direct, Lactase as a diagnostic marker in transient loss of consciousness, O. Matz, C. Zdebik, S. Zechbauer, L. Bundgens, J. Litmathe, K. Willmes, J.B. Schultz, M. Dafotakis.

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