How is lactic acidosis diagnosed?
Lactic acidosis is diagnosed with a blood test.
Author: Idan Ben-Barak
First answered: 13 Jul 2015
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.5/5 Votes: 314
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Lactic acidosis is when lactic acid builds up in your blood, making it too acidic. If left untreated, it can result in an irregular heartbeat, shock, coma and even death.
Mild symptoms of lactic acidosis include weakness, nausea and vomiting, while severe symptoms include rapid breathing, a rapid and irregular heartbeat, chest pain and fever.
Lactic acidosis occurs when there is too much lactic acid in the blood, which can be due to a number of causes, such as dehydration, excessive alcohol use, or certain medications, including some used to treat HIV and diabetes.
How lactic acidosis is treated depends on the cause, but treatment usually includes oxygen therapy and intravenous fluids to improve the supply of oxygen to tissues and flush out lactic acid from the body, respectively.
Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) such as zidovudine, labovudine and abacavir can increase your risk of lactic acidosis by damaging the energy-producing parts of cells (mitochondria) and blocking their reproduction.
The outlook for lactic acidosis depends on how severe the lactic acidosis is. In general, outcomes are poor when lactate in the blood is higher than 5 mmol/L and is not cleared in 48 hours.