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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:
·Acidosis: 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:
pH up PCO2 down - alkalosis
pH down PCO2 up - acidosis
pH up, HCO3 up - alkalosis
pH down, HCO3 down - acidosis
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