Diseases of the lung tissue, such as pulmonary fibrosis, which causes scarring and thickening of the lungs
Diseases that can affect the chest, such as scoliosis
Diseases affecting the nerves and muscles that signal the lungs to inflate or deflate
Medicines that suppress breathing, including powerful pain medicines, such as narcotics, and "downers," such as benzodiazepines, often when combined with alcohol
Severe obesity, which restricts how much the lungs can expand
Obstructive sleep apnea
Chronic respiratory acidosis occurs over a long time. This leads to a stable situation, because the kidneys increase body chemicals, such as bicarbonate, that help restore the body's acid-base balance.
Acute respiratory acidosis is a condition in which carbon dioxide builds up very quickly, before the kidneys can return the body to a state of balance.
Some people with chronic respiratory acidosis get acute respiratory acidosis because an acute illness makes their condition worse and disrupts their body's acid-base balance.
Symptoms may include:
Shortness of breath
Warm and flushed skin
Exams and Tests
The health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask about symptoms.
Tests that may be done include:
Arterial blood gas, which measures oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood
Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, MHS, Paul F. Harron, Jr. Associate Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.