Lactic Acidosis: What You Need To Know
Lactic acidosis is a form of metabolic acidosis that begins in the kidneys. People with lactic acidosis have kidneys that are unable to remove excess acid from their body. If lactic acid builds up in the body more quickly than it can be removed, acidity levels in bodily fluids — such as blood — spike. This buildup of acid causes an imbalance in the body’s pH level, which should always be slightly alkaline instead of acidic. There are a few different types of acidosis. Lactic acid buildup occurs when there’s not enough oxygen in the muscles to break down glucose and glycogen. This is called anaerobic metabolism. There are two types of lactic acid: L-lactate and D-lactate. Most forms of lactic acidosis are caused by too much L-lactate. Lactic acidosis has many causes and can often be treated. But if left untreated, it may be life-threatening. The symptoms of lactic acidosis are typical of many health issues. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor immediately. Your doctor can help determine the root cause. Several symptoms of lactic acidosis represent a medical emergency: fruity-smelling breath (a possible indication of a serious complication of diabetes, called ketoacidosis) confusion jaundice (yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes) trouble breathing or shallow, rapid breathing If you know or suspect that you have lactic acidosis and have any of these symptoms, call 911 or go to an emergency room right away. Other lactic acidosis symptoms include: exhaustion or extreme fatigue muscle cramps or pain body weakness overall feelings of physical discomfort abdominal pain or discomfort diarrhea decrease in appetite headache rapid heart rate Lactic acidosis has a wide range of underlying causes, including carbon monoxide poisoni Continue reading >>
Lactate And Lactic Acidosis
The integrity and function of all cells depend on an adequate supply of oxygen. Severe acute illness is frequently associated with inadequate tissue perfusion and/or reduced amount of oxygen in blood (hypoxemia) leading to tissue hypoxia. If not reversed, tissue hypoxia can rapidly progress to multiorgan failure and death. For this reason a major imperative of critical care is to monitor tissue oxygenation so that timely intervention directed at restoring an adequate supply of oxygen can be implemented. Measurement of blood lactate concentration has traditionally been used to monitor tissue oxygenation, a utility based on the wisdom gleaned over 50 years ago that cells deprived of adequate oxygen produce excessive quantities of lactate. The real-time monitoring of blood lactate concentration necessary in a critical care setting was only made possible by the development of electrode-based lactate biosensors around a decade ago. These biosensors are now incorporated into modern blood gas analyzers and other point-of-care analytical instruments, allowing lactate measurement by non-laboratory staff on a drop (100 L) of blood within a minute or two. Whilst blood lactate concentration is invariably raised in those with significant tissue hypoxia, it can also be raised in a number of conditions not associated with tissue hypoxia. Very often patients with raised blood lactate concentration (hyperlactatemia) also have a reduced blood pH (acidosis). The combination of hyperlactatemia and acidosis is called lactic acidosis. This is the most common cause of metabolic acidosis. The focus of this article is the causes and clinical significance of hyperlactatemia and lactic acidosis. The article begins with a brief overview of normal lactate metabolism. Normal lactate production and Continue reading >>
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Why Does Lactic Acid Build Up In Muscles? And Why Does It Cause Soreness?
As our bodies perform strenuous exercise, we begin to breathe faster as we attempt to shuttle more oxygen to our working muscles. The body prefers to generate most of its energy using aerobic methods, meaning with oxygen. Some circumstances, however—such as evading the historical saber tooth tiger or lifting heavy weights—require energy production faster than our bodies can adequately deliver oxygen. In those cases, the working muscles generate energy anaerobically. This energy comes from glucose through a process called glycolysis, in which glucose is broken down or metabolized into a substance called pyruvate through a series of steps. When the body has plenty of oxygen, pyruvate is shuttled to an aerobic pathway to be further broken down for more energy. But when oxygen is limited, the body temporarily converts pyruvate into a substance called lactate, which allows glucose breakdown—and thus energy production—to continue. The working muscle cells can continue this type of anaerobic energy production at high rates for one to three minutes, during which time lactate can accumulate to high levels. A side effect of high lactate levels is an increase in the acidity of the muscle cells, along with disruptions of other metabolites. The same metabolic pathways that permit the breakdown of glucose to energy perform poorly in this acidic environment. On the surface, it seems counterproductive that a working muscle would produce something that would slow its capacity for more work. In reality, this is a natural defense mechanism for the body; it prevents permanent damage during extreme exertion by slowing the key systems needed to maintain muscle contraction. Once the body slows down, oxygen becomes available and lactate reverts back to pyruvate, allowing continued aero Continue reading >>
Patient professional reference Professional Reference articles are written by UK doctors and are based on research evidence, UK and European Guidelines. They are designed for health professionals to use. You may find one of our health articles more useful. Description Lactic acidosis is a form of metabolic acidosis due to the inadequate clearance of lactic acid from the blood. Lactate is a byproduct of anaerobic respiration and is normally cleared from the blood by the liver, kidney and skeletal muscle. Lactic acidosis occurs when the body's buffering systems are overloaded and tends to cause a pH of ≤7.25 with plasma lactate ≥5 mmol/L. It is usually caused by a state of tissue hypoperfusion and/or hypoxia. This causes pyruvic acid to be preferentially converted to lactate during anaerobic respiration. Hyperlactataemia is defined as plasma lactate >2 mmol/L. Classification Cohen and Woods devised the following system in 1976 and it is still widely used: Type A: lactic acidosis occurs with clinical evidence of tissue hypoperfusion or hypoxia. Type B: lactic acidosis occurs without clinical evidence of tissue hypoperfusion or hypoxia. It is further subdivided into: Type B1: due to underlying disease. Type B2: due to effects of drugs or toxins. Type B3: due to inborn or acquired errors of metabolism. Epidemiology The prevalence is very difficult to estimate, as it occurs in critically ill patients, who are not often suitable subjects for research. It is certainly a common occurrence in patients in high-dependency areas of hospitals. The incidence of symptomatic hyperlactataemia appears to be rising as a consequence of the use of antiretroviral therapy to treat HIV infection. It appears to increase in those taking stavudine (d4T) regimens. Causes of lactic acid Continue reading >>
Lactic Acidosis And Exercise: What You Need To Know
Muscle ache, burning, rapid breathing, nausea, stomach pain: If you've experienced the unpleasant feeling of lactic acidosis, you likely remember it. It's temporary. It happens when too much acid builds up in your bloodstream. The most common reason it happens is intense exercise. Symptoms The symptoms may include a burning feeling in your muscles, cramps, nausea, weakness, and feeling exhausted. It's your body's way to tell you to stop what you're doing The symptoms happen in the moment. The soreness you sometimes feel in your muscles a day or two after an intense workout isn't from lactic acidosis. It's your muscles recovering from the workout you gave them. Intense Exercise. When you exercise, your body uses oxygen to break down glucose for energy. During intense exercise, there may not be enough oxygen available to complete the process, so a substance called lactate is made. Your body can convert this lactate to energy without using oxygen. But this lactate or lactic acid can build up in your bloodstream faster than you can burn it off. The point when lactic acid starts to build up is called the "lactate threshold." Some medical conditions can also bring on lactic acidosis, including: Vitamin B deficiency Shock Some drugs, including metformin, a drug used to treat diabetes, and all nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS can cause lactic acidosis. If you are on any of these medications and have any symptoms of lactic acidosis, get medical help immediately. Preventing Lactic Acidosis Begin any exercise routine gradually. Pace yourself. Don't go from being a couch potato to trying to run a marathon in a week. Start with an aerobic exercise like running or fast walking. You can build up your pace and distance slowly. Increase the Continue reading >>
Severe Lactic Acidosis Reversed By Thiamine Within 24 Hours
Severe lactic acidosis reversed by thiamine within 24 hours 1Department of Internal Medicine, Medical University of Graz, Auenbruggerplatz 15, A-8036 Graz, Austria Karin Amrein: [email protected] ; Werner Ribitsch: [email protected] ; Ronald Otto: [email protected] ; Harald C Worm: [email protected] ; Rudolf E Stauber: [email protected] This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Thiamine is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a pivotal role in carbohydrate metabolism. In acute deficiency, pyruvate accumulates and is metabolized to lactate, and chronic deficiency may cause polyneuropathy and Wernicke encephalopathy. Classic symptoms include mental status change, ophthalmoplegia, and ataxia but are present in only a few patients [ 1 ]. Critically ill patients are prone to thiamine deficiency because of preexistent malnutrition, increased consumption in high-carbohydrate nutrition, and accelerated clearance in renal replacement. In retrospective [ 2 ] and prospective [ 3 , 4 ] studies, a substantial prevalence of thiamine deficiency has been described in both adult (10% to 20%) and pediatric (28%) patients. Thiamine deficiency may become clinically evident in any type of malnutrition that outlasts thiamine body stores (2 to 3 weeks), including alcoholism, bariatric surgery, or hyperemesis gravidarum, and results in high morbidity and mortality if untreated [ 1 ]. We report the case of a 56-year-old man with profound lactic acidosis that resolved rapidly after thiamine infusion. He was admitted because of a decreased level of consciousness (Glasgow Coma Scale score of 6). Vital signs, including blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen saturation, were normal. Besides reporting regular alcohol consumption, relatives reported recen Continue reading >>
What Is A Lactic Acid Blood Test?
It’s a test that measures the amount of lactic acid (also called “lactate”) in your blood. This acid is made in muscle cells and red blood cells. It forms when your body turns food into energy. Your body relies on this energy when its oxygen levels are low. Oxygen levels might drop during an intense workout or when you have an infection or disease. Once you finish your workout or recover from the illness, your lactic acid level tends to go back to normal. But sometimes, it doesn't. Higher-than-normal lactic acid levels can lead to a condition called lactic acidosis. If it’s severe enough, it can upset your body’s pH balance, which indicates the level of acid in your blood. Lactic acidosis can lead to these symptoms: It’s a simple blood test. Your doctor will draw blood from a vein or artery using a needle. In rare cases, he may take a sample of cerebrospinal fluid from your spinal column during a procedure called a spinal tap. Normally, you don’t have to adjust your routine to prepare for the test. If your lactic acid level is normal, you don’t have lactic acidosis. Your cells are making enough oxygen. It also tells your doctor that something other than lactic acidosis is causing your symptoms. He’ll likely order other tests to find out what it is. If your lactic acid level is high, it could be caused by a number of things. Most often, it’s because you have a condition that makes it hard for you to breathe in enough oxygen. Some of these conditions could include: Severe lung disease or respiratory failure Fluid build-up in your lungs Very low red blood cell count (severe anemia) A higher-than-normal lactic acid level in your blood can also be a sign of problems with your metabolism. And, your body might need more oxygen than normal because you have o Continue reading >>
Lactic Acidosis: Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment
Lactic acidosis occurs when the body produces too much lactic acid and cannot metabolize it quickly enough. The condition can be a medical emergency. The onset of lactic acidosis might be rapid and occur within minutes or hours, or gradual, happening over a period of days. The best way to treat lactic acidosis is to find out what has caused it. Untreated lactic acidosis can result in severe and life-threatening complications. In some instances, these can escalate rapidly. It is not necessarily a medical emergency when caused by over-exercising. The prognosis for lactic acidosis will depend on its underlying cause. A blood test is used to diagnose the condition. Lactic acidosis symptoms that may indicate a medical emergency include a rapid heart rate and disorientaiton. Typically, symptoms of lactic acidosis do not stand out as distinct on their own but can be indicative of a variety of health issues. However, some symptoms known to occur in lactic acidosis indicate a medical emergency. Lactic acidosis can occur in people whose kidneys are unable to get rid of excess acid. Even when not related to just a kidney condition, some people's bodies make too much lactic acid and are unable to balance it out. Diabetes increases the risk of developing lactic acidosis. Lactic acidosis may develop in people with type 1 and 2 diabetes mellitus , especially if their diabetes is not well controlled. There have been reports of lactic acidosis in people who take metformin, which is a standard non-insulin medication for treating type 2 diabetes mellitus. However, the incidence is low, with equal to or less than 10 cases per 100,000 patient-years of using the drug, according to a 2014 report in the journal Metabolism. The incidence of lactic acidosis is higher in people with diabetes who Continue reading >>
Metformin And Fatal Lactic Acidosis
Publications Published: July 1998 Information on this subject has been updated. Read the most recent information. Dr P Pillans,former Medical Assessor, Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM), Dunedin Metformin is a useful anti-hyperglycaemic agent but significant mortality is associated with drug-induced lactic acidosis. Significant renal and hepatic disease, alcoholism and conditions associated with hypoxia (eg. cardiac and pulmonary disease, surgery) are contraindications to the use of metformin. Other risk factors for metformin-induced lactic acidosis are sepsis, dehydration, high dosages and increasing age. Metformin remains a major reported cause of drug-associated mortality in New Zealand. Of the 12 cases of lactic acidosis associated with metformin reported to CARM since 1977, 2 occurred in the last year and 8 cases had a fatal outcome. Metformin useful but small risk of potentially fatal lactic acidosis Metformin is a useful therapeutic agent for obese non-insulin dependent diabetics and those whose glycaemia cannot be controlled by sulphonylurea monotherapy. Lactic acidosis is an uncommon but potentially fatal adverse effect. The reported frequency of lactic acidosis is 0.06 per 1000 patient-years, mostly in patients with predisposing factors.1 Examples of metformin-induced lactic acidosis cases reported to CARM include: A 69-year-old man, with renal and cardiac disease, was prescribed metformin due to failing glycaemic control on glibenclamide monotherapy. He was well for six weeks, then developed lactic acidosis and died within 3 days. Post-surgical lactic acidosis caused the death of a 70-year-old man whose metformin was not withdrawn at the time of surgery. A 56-year-old woman, with no predisposing disease, died from lactic acidosis following major Continue reading >>
Metformin-induced Lactic Acidosis: No One Left Behind
Abstract Metformin is a safe drug when correctly used in properly selected patients. In real life, however, associated lactic acidosis has been repeatedly, although rarely, reported. The term metformin-induced lactic acidosis refers to cases that cannot be explained by any major risk factor other than drug accumulation, usually due to renal failure. Treatment consists of vital function support and drug removal, mainly achieved by renal replacement therapy. Despite dramatic clinical presentation, the prognosis of metformin-induced lactic acidosis is usually surprisingly good. In the previous issue of Critical Care, Friesecke and colleagues demonstrate that the survival rate of patients with severe lactic acidosis due to metformin accumulation can be strikingly higher than expected based on the initial clinical evaluation . Metformin is nowadays the first-line drug of choice for the treatment of adults with type 2 diabetes . This drug is the sixth most frequently prescribed in the USA (> 50 million prescriptions in 2009) and is taken by almost 1.5% of the Italian population [3, 4]. Metformin is a safe drug when correctly used in properly selected patients. In particular, no cases of lactic acidosis (a relatively common side effect of other biguanide compounds) were reported in 347 trials with 70,490 patient-years of metformin use . Real life can differ from research settings, however, and lactic acidosis has been repeatedly, although rarely, observed in patients treated with metformin. The number of inquiries to the Swedish Poison Information Centre for metformin intoxication has increased 10 times during the past decade, with 25 cases of severe lactic acidosis reported in 2007 and 2008 . According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, metform Continue reading >>
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Lactic acidosis is a medical condition characterized by the buildup of lactate (especially L-lactate) in the body, which results in an excessively low pH in the bloodstream. It is a form of metabolic acidosis, in which excessive acid accumulates due to a problem with the body's metabolism of lactic acid. Lactic acidosis is typically the result of an underlying acute or chronic medical condition, medication, or poisoning. The symptoms are generally attributable to these underlying causes, but may include nausea, vomiting, rapid deep breathing, and generalised weakness. The diagnosis is made on biochemical analysis of blood (often initially on arterial blood gas samples), and once confirmed, generally prompts an investigation to establish the underlying cause to treat the acidosis. In some situations, hemofiltration (purification of the blood) is temporarily required. In rare chronic forms of lactic acidosis caused by mitochondrial disease, a specific diet or dichloroacetate may be used. The prognosis of lactic acidosis depends largely on the underlying cause; in some situations (such as severe infections), it indicates an increased risk of death. Classification The Cohen-Woods classification categorizes causes of lactic acidosis as: Type A: Decreased tissue oxygenation (e.g., from decreased blood flow) Type B B1: Underlying diseases (sometimes causing type A) B2: Medication or intoxication B3: Inborn error of metabolism Signs and symptoms Lactic acidosis is commonly found in people who are unwell, such as those with severe heart and/or lung disease, a severe infection with sepsis, the systemic inflammatory response syndrome due to another cause, severe physical trauma, or severe depletion of body fluids. Symptoms in humans include all those of typical m Continue reading >>
Background In basic terms, lactic acid is the normal endpoint of the anaerobic breakdown of glucose in the tissues. The lactate exits the cells and is transported to the liver, where it is oxidized back to pyruvate and ultimately converted to glucose via the Cori cycle. In the setting of decreased tissue oxygenation, lactic acid is produced as the anaerobic cycle is utilized for energy production. With a persistent oxygen debt and overwhelming of the body's buffering abilities (whether from chronic dysfunction or excessive production), lactic acidosis ensues. [1, 2] (See Etiology.) Lactic acid exists in 2 optical isomeric forms, L-lactate and D-lactate. L-lactate is the most commonly measured level, as it is the only form produced in human metabolism. Its excess represents increased anaerobic metabolism due to tissue hypoperfusion. (See Workup.) D-lactate is a byproduct of bacterial metabolism and may accumulate in patients with short-gut syndrome or in those with a history of gastric bypass or small-bowel resection.  By the turn of the 20th century, many physicians recognized that patients who are critically ill could exhibit metabolic acidosis unaccompanied by elevation of ketones or other measurable anions. In 1925, Clausen identified the accumulation of lactic acid in blood as a cause of acid-base disorder. Several decades later, Huckabee's seminal work firmly established that lactic acidosis frequently accompanies severe illnesses and that tissue hypoperfusion underlies the pathogenesis. In their classic 1976 monograph, Cohen and Woods classified the causes of lactic acidosis according to the presence or absence of adequate tissue oxygenation. (See Presentation and Differentials.) The causes of lactic acidosis are listed in the chart below. Go to Acute Lactic Ac Continue reading >>
Lactic Acidosis: Clinical Implications And Management Strategies
Lactic acidosis: Clinical implications and management strategies Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2015 September;82(9):615-624 Quality Officer, Medical Intensive Care Unit, Departments of Pulmonary Medicine and Critical Care Medicine, Respiratory Institute, Cleveland Clinic; Assistant Professor, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH Department of Pharmacy, Cleveland Clinic; Assistant Professor, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH Medical ICU Clinical Specialist, Department of Pharmacy, Cleveland Clinic Director, Medical Intensive Care Unit, Department of Critical Care Medicine, Respiratory Institute, Cleveland Clinic Address: Anita J. Reddy, MD, Department of Critical Care Medicine, Respiratory Institute, A90, Cleveland Clinic, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44195; e-mail: [email protected] ABSTRACTIn hospitalized patients, elevated serum lactate levels are both a marker of risk and a target of therapy. The authors describe the mechanisms underlying lactate elevations, note the risks associated with lactic acidosis, and outline a strategy for its treatment. Serum lactate levels can become elevated by a variety of underlying processes, categorized as increased production in conditions of hypoperfusion and hypoxia (type A lactic acidosis), or as increased production or decreased clearance not due to hypoperfusion and hypoxia (type B). The higher the lactate level and the slower the rate of normalization (lactate clearance), the higher the risk of death. Treatments differ depending on the underlying mechanism of the lactate elevation. Thus, identifying the reason for hyperlactatemia and differentiating between type A and B lactic acidosis are of the utmo Continue reading >>
What Is Lactic Acidosis?: Signs, Symptoms, Causes And Treatment
What is lactic acidosis? It is a condition where lactate builds up in the body which leads to extremely low pH levels in the blood. Normally, your blood is alkaline or slightly basic. Lactic acidosis occurs when your blood is much more acidic than usual. Changes in blood pH levels can adversely affect your body’s organs. Lactic acidosis is a form of metabolic acidosis characterized by excessive accumulation of acid as a result of the body failing to metabolize lactic acidosis. Metabolic acidosis is a medical state that occurs when there is reduced systemic pH because of a decrease in bicarbonate or an increase in hydrogen ion concentration. Accumulation of lactic acids happens when there is inadequate oxygen in the muscles that is required to break down the glycogen and glucose for energy. In a normal body, lactate will exit muscle cells and travel to the liver, where it will be oxidized to pyruvate, and later converted to glucose. Glucose refers to a form of sugar which is one of the main sources of energy for the body. When there is reduced oxygen in the tissue, there will be a build up of lactic acid. This medical condition usually starts in the kidneys. Lactic acidosis normally occurs when the kidneys fail to excrete excess acids from the body. As a result, lactic acid accumulates in the body faster than it is removed. This build up of lactic acid leads to a pH imbalance in the body. There are two forms of lactic acid, that is D-lactate and L-lactate. D-lactate is a form produced in bacterial metabolism and may build up in patients who have had a gastric bypass or have short gut syndrome. On the other hand, L-lactic is produced from human metabolism. Both L-lactic and D-lactic are produced from pyruvate and metabolized to pyruvate by an enzyme known as lactate deh Continue reading >>