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Lactic acidosis

Lactic acidosis is when lactic acid builds up in the bloodstream faster than it can be removed. Lactic acid is produced when oxygen levels in the body drop.


The most common cause of lactic acidosis is intense exercise. However, it can also be caused by certain diseases, such as:

A common medicine used to treat diabetes called metformin can also cause lactic acidosis. If you take this medicine, have your electrolyte levels checked 1 to 2 weeks after starting it.


Symptoms may include:

  • Nausea
  • Weakness

Exams and Tests

Tests may include a blood test to check electrolyte levels


The main treatment for lactic acidosis is to correct the medical problem that causes the condition.


Seifter JL. Acid-base disorders. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds.Goldman's Cecil Medicine

Strayer RJ. Acid-base disorders. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, eds.Rosen's Emergency Medicine.

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Update Date 11/2/2014