What is Lactic Acidosis Treatment?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 30 September 2019
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Lactic acidosis is a condition in which lactic acid levels in a person’s bloodstream rise at too fast a rate. When this happens, the acid isn’t removed as quickly as it builds up, and a person’s blood becomes too acidic. This condition can be dangerous, and those suffering from it may need medical attention. Lactic acidosis treatment may include hospitalization, intravenous hydration, administering of a medication or substance that neutralizes acid, and sometimes even kidney treatments that help remove lactic acid from the blood. The optimal treatment often depends on the extent of the condition as well as its underlying cause.

Often, athletes experience episodes of lactic acidosis in response to vigorous exercise. When the muscles are worked intensely, they may use oxygen so quickly that the body cannot keep up with replacing it. In the absence of enough oxygen to process lactic acid, the acid builds up in the bloodstream, causing shortness of breath and a burning, fatigued sensation in the muscles. This form of the condition is minor and probably won’t require lactic acidosis treatment beyond resting the muscles. Once the athlete rests, the body usually begins to recover on its own, without any lasting or severe effects.


In some cases, lactic acidosis treatment is necessary. For example, a person may develop lactic acidosis because of a genetic condition, a condition that deprives the body of oxygen, excessive bleeding, a severe infection, and sometimes diabetes. A person may even develop this condition as a side effect of certain medications, particularly those that are used for treating diabetes and immune system deficiencies. In such a case, a person may experience fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. Some patients may also have pain and bloating in the abdominal area as well as decreased appetite, swelling of the liver, and poor liver or kidney function.

When serious cases of lactic acidosis develop, doctors may run tests to determine its cause and decide how to treat it. Sometimes this involves discontinuing medication that has contributed to the problem. Doctors may also administer saline through a patient's vein and order kidney dialysis to help remove lactic acid from the blood; this may also help remove some of the medication that may contribute to the problem. Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat blood poisoning that may be present, and sodium bicarbonate may be used to neutralize acid. In a severe case, lactic acidosis treatment may also include oxygen therapy.


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