Acid bases and the importance of PH

6 June 2016

An important part of regulating the chemical balance or homeostasis of body fluids is regulating their acidity or alkalinity. An acid is a substance that releases hydrogen ions in solution. Strong acids such as HCL release all or nearly all their hydrogen ions; weak acids like carbonic acids release some hydrogen ions. Bases or alkalis have low hydrogen ions in solution. The relative acidity or alkalinity of a solution is measured as pH.

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The pH reflects the hydrogen ion concentration of the solution: the higher the hydrogen ion concentration and the more acidic the solution, the lower the pH. Water has a pH of 7 and is neutral; that is, it is neither acidic in nature nor is it alkaline. Solutions with a pH lower than 7 are acidic; those with a pH of higher than 7 are alkaline. The pH scale is logarithmic: A solution with a pH of 5 is 10 times more acidic than one with a pH of 6. Body fluids are maintained within a narrow range that is slightly alkaline.

The normal pH of arterial blood is between 7.35 and 7.45. Acids are continually produced during metabolism. Several body systems including buffers, the respiratory system, and the renal system are actively involved in maintaining the narrow pH range necessary for optimal functioning. Buffer help maintain acid- base balance by neutralizing excess acids or bases. The lungs and kidney help maintain a normal pH by either excreting or retaining acids and bases. The pH helps in detecting if there is still acid-base balance in our body systems like in the respiratory and metabolic systems. They help in knowing if all the ions in our body are still within the normal range or not.

Reference:

Johnson, M., & Maas, M., & Moorhead, S. (Eds.). (2000). Nursing Outcomes Classification (NOC

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