acid base balance help

  1. it's confusing and frustrating, but i have a feeling it's important.
    is there anyway to simplify metabolic/respiratory acidosis and alkalosis, electrolyte imbalance etc? it seems like a foreign language to me right now. why must this be so complicated?
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  2. 29 Comments

  3. by   GPatty
    Bless your heart....it is a foreign language right now, and it will be for awhile. Just keep studying, and you'll get it. I understand it mostly, but definitely not all!

    Welcome to the boards!
  4. by   psychomachia
    Try this book: Acid-Base, Fluids, and Electrolytes Made Ridiculously Simple

    It's easy to read, but you may want to keep a pathophysiology book around for more detailed explanations. Still, a good book for the money and helps make the subject a little easier to understand.
  5. by   StudentSandra
    You Can Learn ABGs in 3 Easy Steps
    http://www.chipkalee.com/abgs.html
  6. by   neneRN
    You do have to understand the whys behind ABGs, and it does take a while to click, but a little cheat sheet until you feel comfortable:

    RESPIRATORY ACIDOSIS:
    pH is down
    PCO2 is up

    METABOLIC ACIDOSIS:
    pH is down
    HCO3 is down

    RESPIRATORY ALKALOSIS:
    pH is up
    PCO2 is down

    METABOLIC ALKALOSIS:
    pH is up
    HCO3 is up

    (just kind of a quick check to see if you're coming to the right conclusion with your numbers)
  7. by   nurseguy74
    thanks for the replies, i'll check out the links and maybe that book.......chris
  8. by   fergus51
    1:The easy way is look at the ph

    Is it alkalosis or acidosis?

    2:Then look at CO2 and HCO3

    Which one agrees with the ph? (if ph is acidotic, co2 is high opposite for alkalotic) (if ph is acidotic HCO3 will be low opposite for alkalosis)

    The one that agrees with the ph is the type of problem you have (if the CO2 is high and ph is acidotic, then you have respiratory acidosis. if the HCO3 is low and the ph is acidotic, you have metabolic acidosis, opposites for alkalosis)

    3. then look at the other lab (if the problem is respiratory, look at the HCO3. If the problem is metabolic, look at the CO2)

    Is it in the normal range? If so the problem is uncompensated.

    Does is agree with the ph? (Both CO2 and HCO3 levels cause acidosis) then the problem is respiratory and metabolic acidosis or alcalosis and is uncompensated.

    Or does it disagree with the ph? (ex. ph is acidic, but HCO3 is high or CO2 is low) if so, the problem is partially compensated.

    So you can have uncompensated, partially compensated or even fully compensated (where the HCO3 and CO2 are out of wack, but ph is normal) respiratory or metabolic acidosis or alkalosis.

    Basically you need three things:
    Acidosis or alkalosis? What is causing it (respiratory or metabolic)? and is the other system trying to fix it (by compensating).
  9. by   ntigrad
    I remember that if the CO2 is up, that's like having poison in your veins. (I think of acid as a corrosive poison) so it would be acidosis. If the O2 is down, it's kinda like the CO2 being up; still poison in your veins. Also remember that O2 follows the same pattern as pH in that if it's down, it's acid, if it's up it's alkaline. Anything with O2 or CO2 is going to be respiratoy because it's got to do with breathing. If the O2 and CO2 are ok but the HCO2 is out of whack, it is automatically metabolic. Hope that wasn't too screwy sounding fo ryou!
    Jill
  10. by   2003rn
    R=respiratory
    O=opposite
    M=metabolic
    E=equal
    If the one value is up, and the other is down, then it's resp. If both are going in the same direction, then it's metabolic.
    I still get confused on the compensation part.
    Hope this helps.
  11. by   ShannonRN2010
    Saunders NCLEX prep book broke it down SO easy for us (good thing cause the teacher LOST me back in December!LoL) I am telling ya...get the NCLEX prep book and use it as a study compainion and it will help you out ALOT!
  12. by   REDEEMED
    Hello Shannon77

    Could you give me the ISBN #. There are so many Saunders versions of NCLEX.

    Thanks:roll :roll :roll :roll
  13. by   tanna898
    Thank You, Thank You. I love this.
  14. by   SamiaKadri
    Think of rome
    respiratory opposite
    metabolic equal
    our teacher told us that it helps
    whether acidosis or alkalosis it goes for both when you know the normals

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