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MEDICAL ANIMATION TRANSCRIPT: Acid-base balance is the precise maintenance of the hydrogen ion concentration in blood and tissue fluids so the body will function properly. This concentration of hydrogen in body fluids is called pH, and the acidity or alkalinity of the fluid is expressed as a pH value. Normal blood pH ranges from 7.35 to 7.45. Metabolic processes constantly release acids which freely release hydrogen ions resulting in increased acidity and lower blood pH. In response, the body can use chemical buffers such as bases to neutralize the acids and physiological buffers to facilitate their excretion through the kidney. Respiratory acidosis occurs when breathing difficulties allow carbon dioxide to build up in the body. If respiration cannot keep pace with carbon dioxide production, carbon dioxide builds up in the tissues. Excess carbon dioxide combines with water to produce carbonic acid. Carbonic acid disassociates into bicarbonate and hydrogen ions. The build up of hydrogen ions lowers pH and causes acidosis. Metabolic acidosis occurs when metabolic disorders allow certain acids to build up or cause the loss of basic buffers such as bicarbonate. Conditions causing metabolic acidosis can include diabetes and kidney disease, ingestion of acidic drugs such as aspirin or toxins, alcoholism, and chronic diarrhea, resulting in significant bicarbonate loss. Since acidosis is the result of a variety of conditions, treating the underlying condition is the first step. Bicarbonate may be used to treat metabolic acidosis, and oxygenation and ventilation may be used to treat respiratory acidosis. ♪ [music] ♪