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Lactic acidosis

Lactic acidosis is when lactic acid builds ups in the bloodstream faster than it can be removed. Lactic acid is produced when oxygen levels in the body drop.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The most common cause of lactic acidosis is intense exercise. However, it can also be caused by certain diseases, such as:

A common medicine used to treat diabetes called metformin can also cause lactic acidosis. If you take this medicine, have your electrolyte levels checked 1 - 2 weeks after starting it.

Symptoms

  • Nausea
  • Weakness

Signs and tests

  • Blood tests to check electrolyte levels

Treatment

The main treatment for lactic acidosis is to correct the medical problem that causes the condition.

References

Seifter JL. Acid-base disorders. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap120.

Collings JL. Acid-base disorders. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa:Mosby Elsevier;2009:chap 122.

Updated: 10/14/2012

Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.


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