4. Describe the key pathophysiologic concepts. a) How does this acid base imbalance cause the potassium imbalance noted in this patient’s labs? Due to the increased loss of water and bicarbonate from fevers, and profuse
3 diarrhea for three days a leftward shift in the acid base balance occurred. When bicarbonate is lost and acidosis is present, hydrogen ions move into the cell forcing potassium out of the cell into the extra cellular fluid in order to maintain a balance of cations across the cell membrane (McCance et al, 2019). b) How does the body compensate for the acid base disorder which this patient is experiencing? Ms. X is compensating for her metabolic acidosis by increasing her respiratory rate, hyperventilation, to expel more carbon dioxide and decrease the production of hydrogen ions. The chemoreceptor's in the respiratory buffering system detect the decreased pH and stimulates hyperventilation in order to reduce carbonic acid concentration (McCance et al, 2019). c) How does the anion gap help you to differentiate between the causes of this acid base disorder? The evaluation of the anion gap can help identify the type or cause of the metabolic acidosis. If the gap is within normal range it indicates a loss of bicarbonate and retention of chloride, which is common in profuse diarrhea. If the gap is elevated it indicates an elevation of other ions that are common in lactic acidosis, diabetic ketoacidosis, and chronic renal failure (McCance et al, 2019).
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