What Causes Low pH (Acidosis)?

Many ailments can lead to low ph levels or acidosis.  The kidneys and lungs maintain the balance (proper pH level) of chemicals called acids and bases in the body.  Acidosis is classified as either respiratory acidosis or metabolic acidosis.

Causes of respiratory acidosis include:

  • Chest deformities, such as kyphosis
  • Chest injuries
  • Chest muscle weakness
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Over-use of sedative drugs

There are several types of metabolic acidosis:

  • Diabetic acidosis develops when substances called ketone bodies (which are acidic) build up during uncontrolled diabetes.
  • Hyperchloremic acidosis results from excessive loss of sodium bicarbonate from the body, as can happen with severe diarrhea.
  • Lactic acidosis is a buildup of lactic acid. This can be caused by:
    • Alcohol
    • Cancer
    • Exercising vigorously for a very long time
    • Liver failure
    • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
    • Medications such as salicylates
    • Prolonged lack of oxygen from shock, heart failure, or severe anemia
    • Seizures

Other causes of metabolic acidosis include:

  • Kidney disease (distal renal tubular acidosis and proximal renal tubular acidosis)
  • Poisoning by aspirin, ethylene glycol (found in antifreeze), or methanol
  • Severe dehydration

Source: New York Times
http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/acidosis/overview.html