Alkalosis - respiratory

Alkalosis - respiratory


Respiratory alkalosis is a condition marked by low levels of carbon dioxide in the blood.

See also: Alkalosis

Alternative Names

Alkalosis - respiratory


Common causes include hyperventilation, anxiety, and fever.

Any lung disease that leads to shortness of breath may also result in respiratory alkalosis.


The symptoms may include light-headedness, dizziness, and numbness of the hands and feet.

Exams and Tests

  • Arterial blood gas
  • Chest x-ray or pulmonary function test


Treatment is aimed at the condition that causes respiratory alkalosis. Life-threatening respiratory alkalosis is very rare. Breathing into a paper bag -- or use of a mask that causes re-breathing of carbon dioxide -- helps reduce symptoms in some cases.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The prognosis is based on the condition that causes the respiratory alkalosis.

Possible Complications

Seizures may occur if the alkalosis is extremely severe. This is very rare.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you have any symptoms of lung disease such as chronic cough or shortness of breath.

Murray J, Nadel J. Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 2000: 192-193.

Marx J. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 5th ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby; 2002:1717-1718.

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