When blood pH shifts
Acid-base-balance focuses in particular on maintaining the blood and tissue pH value. If the body’s own buffer systems are overloaded, however, and the normal pH range is exceeded, the blood loses its normal flow properties, and the transport of oxygen, nutrients and degradation products is restricted. The medical term for such excessive acidification of the blood is “acidosis”.
Acute acidosis is a life-threatening disease, which has to be treated immediately with emergency measures for immediate restoration of physiological blood pH. In practice, acute acidosis is extremely rare and is usually the consequence of diseases of the organs significantly involved in regulating acid-base balance: the kidneys and lungs. Since this form of acute acidosis cannot be provoked by dietary factors, there is no need to discuss it in further detail here.
Chronic or latent acidosis
Our focus is on chronic, or latent, acidosis. The term “latent” means “hidden” and indicates a chronic condition, which does not make itself felt at first. Latent or chronic acidosis is far more commonly observed in practice and is characterised by a minor shift in blood pH towards the acid within the normal range (pH 7.35 – pH 7.45). The blood’s buffer capacity simultaneously decreases. Chronic acidosis has no specific clinical symptoms, which means we do not notice any physical changes at first.