What’s pH Balance & Why Do I Need to Maintain it. PH balance, also known as the acid-base balance, is a measure of the level of acids and bases in your blood. PH can be determined on a scale of 0 to 14 where 0 is the most acidic and 14 is the most basic. A pH level of 7.40 would be considered normal in the body, however, this may differ slightly from person to person.
PH is primarily dependent on the proper function of the lungs and the kidneys. The lungs and the kidneys play a decisive role in the blood pH level which can fluctuate according to the performance of these two organs. Furthermore, an imbalance in the level of pH can lead to two common disorders known as acidosis and alkalosis.
The Role of the Lungs and Kidneys in pH Balance
The lungs perform a function known as gas exchange whereby oxygen is absorbed through the alveoli sacs and carbon dioxide is released into the environment. Carbon dioxide is a slightly acidic compound which means a decrease in its blood content would render a reduction of acidity in the bloodstream.
During the process of exhalation, your brain will monitor the amount of carbon dioxide that is released from the body to maintain a balanced pH level in the body. Inversely, the kidneys will support the lungs and maintain acid-base balance by excreting acids or bases into the bloodstream according to the body‘s needs. Nonetheless, it is important to keep in mind that the kidney’s role in acid-base balance is a much slower process than that of the lungs.
pH Balance Disorders: Acidosis
Acidosis is a condition by which the blood becomes overly acidic, or has a pH that is below 7.35 on the scale. Meanwhile, there are two types of acidosis that you should be aware of. The first is respiratory acidosis which is characterized by the inability of the lungs to remove sufficient carbon dioxide from the blood during exhalation. Some medical conditions that may lead to respiratory acidosis are asthma, pneumonia, and emphysema.
Secondly, a person experiencing an accumulation of acid in the body will inevitably undergo metabolic acidosis, which is triggered by the kidneys. Also, this problem may come about due to a severe reduction in pH-Basic compounds or if the body fails to remove a surplus of acid. The ingestion of large doses of aspirin or methanol is another voluntary way to put your body in the state of metabolic acidosis.
If you are experiencing constant vomiting, nausea, and relentless fatigue you may be showing signs of metabolic acidosis.
pH Balance Disorders: Alkalosis
Conversely, alkalosis is a disorder that may come in one of two types, respiratory alkalosis or metabolic alkalosis. Respiratory alkalosis occurs when there is a deficiency of carbon dioxide in your blood. Some causes of respiratory alkalosis may include an overdose on aspirin, high fever, hyperventilation, or pain. If you are symptomatic due to respiratory alkalosis you may encounter muscle cramping and twitching, particularly in your fingers, lips, and toes.
On the other hand, metabolic alkalosis takes place when there is excess bicarbonate in your blood or there is a drastic decrease of acid in your body. This condition is typically initiated by overuse of diuretics, vomiting for an extended time, or having an overstimulated adrenal gland. You must be careful not to misuse any substance that may otherwise leave you prone to this disorder.
At last, It is worth mentioning that there are several ingestible agents on the market that one may consume to promote pH balance levels in the body. These enzymatic agents have the potential of being absorbed by the small intestine and make their way into the bloodstream to provide equilibrium to your acid-base balance.
It is crucial to be cognizant of your body‘s pH basic levels because an inbalance will negatively contribute to any current medical conditions or possibly make you susceptible to various diseases. Some methods used to check the status of your pH levels are to have an arterial blood gas exam, a urinalysis, a urine pH level test, or a basic metabolic panel.
Allowing a healthcare professional to assess your internal body condition will grant you the opportunity to take action and ensure that you are not being subjected to either case of pH imbalance.