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Classification and external resources
ICD-10 E87.3
ICD-9 276.3
DiseasesDB 32458
MedlinePlus 001183
MeSH D000471

Alkalosis refers to a condition reducing hydrogen ion concentration of arterial blood plasma (alkalemia). Generally, alkalosis is said to occur when pH of the blood exceeds 7.45. The opposite condition is acidosis (when pH falls below 7.35).


Alkalosis can refer to:


The main cause of respiratory alkalosis is hyperventilation, resulting in a loss of carbon dioxide. Compensatory mechanisms for this would include increased dissociation of the carbonic acid buffering intermediate into hydrogen ions, and the related excretion of bicarbonate,[citation needed] both of which lower blood pH.

Metabolic alkalosis can be caused by prolonged vomiting, resulting in a loss of hydrochloric acid with the stomach content. Severe dehydration, and the consumption of alkali are other causes. It can also be caused by administration of diuretics and endocrine disorders such as Cushing's syndrome. Compensatory mechanism for metabolic alkalosis involve slowed breathing by the lungs to increase serum carbon dioxide, a condition leaning toward respiratory acidosis. As respiratory acidosis often accompanies the compensation for metabolic alkalosis, and viceversa, a delicate balance is created between these two conditions.


Metabolic alkalosis is usually accompanied with hypokalemia, causing, e.g., muscular weakness, myalgia, and muscle cramps (from disturbed function of the skeletal muscles), and muscle spasms (from disturbed function of smooth muscles).

It may also cause hypocalcemia. As the pH of blood increases, blood transport proteins, such as albumin, become more ionised into anions. This causes the free calcium present in blood to bind more strongly with albumin. If severe, it may cause tetany (alkalotic tetany).

See also[edit]