Acidosis is a disturbance of the body’s acid–base balance in which there is an accumulation of acid or loss of alkali (base). There are two types of acidosis: metabolic and respiratory.


In metabolic acidosis, an increased amount of acid is produced by metabolic processes. One form of metabolic acidosis is ketoacidosis, which occurs in uncontrolled diabetes mellitus and starvation.

Metabolic acidosis may also be caused by loss of bicarbonate (an alkali) as a result of severe diarrhoea. In kidney failure, there is insufficient excretion of acid in the urine.

Respiratory acidosis occurs when breathing fails to remove enough carbon dioxide from the lungs. This causes increased acidity of the blood because the excess carbon dioxide remains in the bloodstream, where it dissolves to form carbonic acid.

Impaired breathing leading to respiratory acidosis may be caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease