The Effects of Too Much Acid in the Body

If too much acid accumulates in your body, your doctor may diagnose you with a condition called acidosis. There are two major forms of acidosis: metabolic acidosis, which occurs when there is too much acid in your body, and respiratory acidosis, which occurs when there is too much carbon dioxide in your body. Typically, acidosis develops as a result of uncontrolled diabetes; chronic diarrhea; and respiratory, kidney or liver disease. When severe, the effects of acidosis may be life-threatening.

Upset Stomach

Acidosis may initially cause mild stomach upset in affected people. You may feel nauseated or vomit and may develop a decrease in your normal appetite. These effects of too much acid in the body typically persist and increase in severity until the condition is resolved.

Headache, Weakness or Fatigue

Unusually high acid levels in your body may prevent your vital organs from receiving the life-sustaining oxygen they need. Consequently, your muscles may feel unusually weak or you may not have the energy you need to stay active throughout the day. Headache pain and excessive fatigue may make it difficult for you to stay focused or remain attentive while performing your normal activities. As acidosis persists, such effects may be debilitating and can prevent you from being able to move about normally without assistance.

Breathing Difficulties

Breathing difficulties may also arise as a consequence of abnormally high blood levels of acid. You may notice that your breathing rate becomes faster or deeper. A quickened breathing rate may lead to dizziness or lightheadedness and may exacerbate headache discomfort. In severe cases of acidosis, you may stop breathing, which may cause fatal health complications.


Acidosis may limit the amount of oxygen your brain receives. Without a sufficient supply of oxygen, the nerves in your brain can't transmit signals normally throughout your body. Consequently, you may feel unusually confused or anxious. Such effects of acidosis may make it difficult for you to complete your daily responsibilities and may affect your interactions with friends, family members or colleagues.

Shock, Coma or Death

If left undetected or untreated, too much acid in your body may result in a significant decrease in your blood pressure -- also called shock. Shock may result in chest pain, dizziness, pale or bluish skin, sweating, rapid pulse, shallow breathing, or restlessness. When acid levels in the body remain chronically high, severe acidosis may also result in loss of consciousness, coma, organ failure or death. Seek emergency medical care if you experience any of the effects of acidosis to ensure you receive prompt and appropriate care.

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