Lactic acidosis occurs when the body’s metabolic processes malfunction. When working properly, these processes make energy from oxygen. Cells need this energy to perform correctly. When these processes are not working, the body does not know how to convert the energy it produces and receives properly. Instead, it ends up making more lactate than it can handle, leading to a dangerous build-up of lactic acid within the cells. That build-up, in turn, negatively affects pH levels. Increased lactic acid and decreased pH levels wreak havoc and can have serious health consequences.
Lactic acidosis may occur in anyone; it is not gender-, ethnic- or age-specific. The presence of a chronic or acute medical condition such as renal failure or diabetes increases one's risk of developing lactic acidosis. People with serious infections such as sepsis are also more at risk, as are those taking certain medications. Excessive exercise or alcohol or drug use may increase the likelihood of developing lactic acidosis, as well.
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