Metabolic alkalosis: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Definition: Metabolic alkalosis is a disturbance of the acid/base balance that the body possesses.

It can be caused by a mild infection, excessive self-induction of vomiting, steroids or diuretics, drugs, or the excessive use of antacids or laxatives.

The blood is composed of acids and bases. The number of acids and bases in the blood can be measured on a pH scale.

It is essential to maintain the correct balance between acids and bases. Even a slight change can cause health problems.

Usually, blood should have a slightly higher level of bases than acids. Alkalosis occurs when the body has too many floors.

It can occur due to low levels in the blood of carbon dioxide, which is an acid. It can also occur due to the increase in blood levels of bicarbonate, which is a basis.

This condition can also be related to other underlying health problems, such as low potassium levels or hypokalemia.


The sooner it is detected and treated, the better it will be.

Symptoms of metabolic alkalosis

Some of the main signs and symptoms of metabolic alkalosis (MA) are:

  • Tremors in the hands.
  • Mental confusion can result in semi-unconsciousness or even coma.
  • Fainting.
  • Irritability.
  • Prolonged spasms in the muscles (tetany).
  • Contractions of the muscles.
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea.
  • The sensation of tingling in the face.
  • Facial numbness


This condition results from the instability in the acid-base system of the human body. The term pH means the level of alkalinity or acidity of any substance.

A pH value of 7.0 indicates neutrality. The pH value in an average individual is moderately alkaline, from 7.36 to 7.44.

Within this range, the body is designed to function at an optimal point. Adverse effects begin when the level of human blood becomes more base than acid.

The severity of the signs of this disease depends on the degree of alkalinity in the human body.

This disease is usually caused by factors that reduce the number of fluids in the body, such as:

  • Vomiting
  • The excessive use of laxatives,
  • Excess urine resulting from the use of diuretic medications,

The loss of fluids can lead to a sharp drop in sodium and potassium, which give rise to the symptoms of metabolic alkalosis.

Some other causes of metabolic alkalosis include:

  • The use of steroids.
  • The excess of antacids.
  • The excessive use of alkaline drugs, such as bicarbonate.


Alkalosis is diagnosed with the help of a basic metabolic panel or an arterial blood gas analysis.

These tests will confirm the alkalosis and help determine if it is a metabolic alkalosis or a respiratory alkalosis.


The treatment of alkalosis depends on finding the specific cause.

Once the cause and condition are found, treatment is started, and the goal of treatment is to correct the acid-base imbalance in the bloodstream.

Medications and saltwater solutions should be administered to patients through an intravenous line.

Some individuals who suffer from this disease require medications to compensate for the loss of chemical components, such as potassium and chloride.

The doctors will monitor the pulse rate, body temperature, blood pressure level, respiratory rate, and other vital signs to detect any change in the condition of the patients.

People suffering from alkalosis due to hyperventilation should breathe in a paper bag. This will help to retain more carbon dioxide, thus improving its alkalosis.

If the oxygen level is low, the artificial air supply can help correct the condition.

Prevention of metabolic alkalosis

Patients who receive food in an intravenous or tubular manner should be carefully monitored to avoid an imbalance of salts and fluids, especially sodium, chloride, and potassium.

Excessive use of some medications, such as antacids, laxatives, and diuretics, should likewise be avoided, or in any case regulated, since their excessive use is what can cause metabolic alkalosis.