Respiratory Alkalosis

Respiratory Alkalosis: Hyperventilation

Respiratory Alkalosis:  Hypocapnia (deficiency of carbon dioxide in the blood), which results from alveolar hyperventilation.  Uncomplicated respiratory alkalosis diminishes hydrogen ion concentration, which causes elevated blood pH.  Hypocapnia occurs when carbon dioxide elimination by the lungs exceeds carbon dioxide production at the cellular level.  Pulmonary causes include pneumonia, interstitial lung disease, pulmonary vascular disease, and acute asthma.  Nonpulmonary causes include anxiety, fever, aspirin toxicity, metabolic acidosis, CNS inflammation or tumor, gram - negative septicemia, and hepatic failure.


Deep rapid breathing (possibly 40 breaths a minute)
Light - headedness
Muscle weakness
In severe respiratory alkalosis - hyperpnea (abnormal increase in depth and rate of respiration)   and cardiac dysrhythmias (disturbance of rhythm)


Treatment aims to eradicate the underlying condition -- for example:  removal of ingested toxins,
treatment of fever or sepsis (toxin), and or treatment of CNS disease.
In severe respiratory alkalosis, breathing into a paper bag, which helps relieve acute anxiety and increases carbon dioxide levels.

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