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Blood pH - There is a complex relationship between the pH levels and fundamental biochemical functions in the human body.

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Introduction: There is a complex relationship between the pH levels and fundamental biochemical functions in the human body. pH is the measurement of acidity or alkalinity of a substance, in this instance blood. pH stands for 'potential Hydrogen'. The pH scale runs from 0 to 14 and is the indicator of the level of free protons (H+) in a system. At the lower end of the scale indicates a strong, complete acid that that is saturated with highly reactive free protons. At the higher end of the scale it indicates a strong, complete alkali with virtually no free protons and is saturated with highly reactive hydroxide ions (OH-). In the middle of this pH scale at 7 indicates that it is neutral, neither acid or alkaline. The pH scale is logarithmic so each number step up the scale is a tenfold increase. The human body functions at its best in a slight alkaline environment. The acid/alkaline balancing mechanisms are what is needed to for a healthy body chemistry. The blood pH in a healthy human body is kept within a very narrow range of 7.35 and 7.45. It is the lungs and the kidneys that are the most responsible organs in keeping blood pH at a reasonable level between 7.35 and 7.45.The kidneys through their complex filtration functions are able to cleanse the excess venous acids an remove them from the body via the urinary tract. ...read more.


Respiratory acidosis develops when there are excessive amounts of carbon dioxide in the body, primarily caused by decreased breathing. Other names for this include hypercapnic acidosis and carbon dioxide acidosis. There are several types of metabolic acidosis. Diabetic acidosis (also called diabetic ketoacidosis and DKA) develops when ketone bodies accumulate during uncontrolled diabetes mellitus. Hyperchloremic acidosis results from excessive loss of sodium bicarbonate from the body, like in severe diarrhea for example. Lactic acidosis is an accumulation of lactic acid. This can be caused by many conditions, including prolonged lack of oxygen, certain diseases, prolonged exercise, hyperventilation, and medications such as oral medications used to treat diabetes. www.nlm.nih.gov Alkalosis is a condition of excess base (alkali) in the body fluids. This is the opposite of excess acid (acidosis), and can be caused by many different conditions. The lungs and kidneys regulate the acid/base status of the body. Decreased carbon dioxide or increased bicarbonate levels create an excessive alkaline state called alkalosis. Respiratory alkalosis is caused by lower carbon dioxide levels. Hyperventilation (increased rate of breathing) causes the body to lose carbon dioxide. Altitude or a disease that causes reduced oxygen in the blood triggers the individual to breathe faster. This reduces carbon dioxide levels which results inrespiratory alkalosis. Metabolic alkalosis is caused by an excess of bicarbonate in blood. ...read more.


Through a carbonic anhydrase reaction similar to the red blood cells, hydrogen ions get produced and secreted into the lumen of the nephron. Also, bicarbonate ions get produced and secreted into the blood. In the lumen of the nephron, filtered bicarbonate combines with secreted hydrogen ions to form carbon dioxide and water (carbonic anhydrase is also present on the luminal surface of the kidney cells). Whether the kidney removes hydrogen ions or bicarbonate ions in the urine depends upon the amount of bicarbonate filtered in the glomerulus from the blood relative to the amount of hydrogen ions secreted by the kidney cells. If the amount of filtered bicarbonate is greater than the amount of secreted hydrogen ions, then bicarbonate will be lost in the urine. Likewise, If the amount of secreted hydrogen ion is greater than the amount of filtered bicarbonate, then hydrogen ions will be lost in the urine (i.e. acidic urine). By excreting a bicarbonate (HCO3) in the urine results in free H+ in the plasma because an HCO3 that would bind H+ has been eliminated. When H+ is lowered in the body, alkalosis, the kidney excretes HCO3 to free up H+ in the plasma. When H+ is raised in the body, acidosis, the kidney tubules produce bicarbonate and add it to the urine. One important buffer system in the body is the carbonic acid-bicarbonate buffer system. Carbonic acid H2CO3 can act as a weak acid and the bicarbonate ion can act as a weak base. ...read more.

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