The difference in acidosis and alkalosis

Health & Medical
Tutor: None Selected Time limit: 1 Day

What is the difference between respiratory acidosis and alkalosis, and metabolic acidosis and alkalosis. How can you tell that a patient is experiencing this by their ABG's? Please explain in full.

Jul 10th, 2015

Thank you for the opportunity to help you with your question! I shall do my best to help you out!

To answer your question, you first need to know the difference between respiratory/metabolic acidosis/alkalosis. There are many definitions, but I will give you the basic one: 

ยทAcidosis: occurs when the body fluid pH is below 7.4. Alkalosis: occurs when the pH is above 7.4. 

These are the values that occur within the human body. To remember what happens with what, I use the mnemonic: RUB MUB: respiratory uses bicarb, metabolic uses breathing. 

Respiratory acidosis: retain bicarbonate. 

Respiratory alkalosis: excrete bicarbonate 

Metabolic acidosis: Increase ventilation 

Metabolic alkalosis: decrease ventilation 

The best way I find to remember this is ROME: 

Respiratory opposite:

 pH up PCO2 down - alkalosis 

pH down PCO2 up - acidosis 

Metabolic Equal: 

pH up, HCO3 up - alkalosis 

pH down, HCO3 down - acidosis 


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Jul 10th, 2015

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