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Metabolic Alkalosis

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 27, 2022.

What is metabolic alkalosis?

Metabolic alkalosis is a condition caused by the loss of potassium or chloride in your blood, tissues, and muscles.

What are the signs and symptoms of metabolic alkalosis?

  • Slow breathing
  • Fast or irregular heartbeats, dizziness, or lightheadedness
  • Blue skin or nails
  • Confusion or feeling irritable
  • Muscle cramps or spasms
  • Trouble breathing

What increases my risk for metabolic alkalosis?

  • Repeated vomiting, severe diarrhea, or stomach suctioning
  • Family history of metabolic alkalosis
  • Worsening kidney function
  • Medicines such as steroids, laxatives, or certain diuretics (water pills)
  • Overuse of bicarbonates, such as baking soda or antacids

How is metabolic alkalosis diagnosed and treated?

Your healthcare provider will check the bicarbonate, potassium, and chloride levels in your blood or urine. He will treat the cause of your metabolic alkalosis. You may be given medicines to replace sodium, potassium, or chloride, stop you from vomiting, or regulate your heartbeat. You may also be given fluid through an IV. Extra fluid helps remove substances such as bicarbonate that caused your metabolic alkalosis.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

  • You have trouble breathing.
  • You are dizzy, confused, or lose consciousness.
  • You have a seizure.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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