Through the respiratory system we take in oxygen from the environment. This oxygen is used in the metabolic work of body cells. Carbon dioxide is produced as waste in this process. We release it into the environment through the respiratory system. The respiratory system mainly balances the intake of oxygen and the excretion of carbon dioxide. If for some reason the respiratory system fails to maintain this balance, then the body does not get enough oxygen, and carbon dioxide is not properly excreted. In medical terms, this condition is called ‘respiratory failure’. If there is only a problem in the supply or use of oxygen, then it is called ‘type one respiratory failure’ and if there is a problem in the use or emission of both oxygen and carbon dioxide, then it is called ‘type two respiratory failure’.
Caused by excess carbon dioxide accumulation
Due to various diseases of the lungs, excess carbon dioxide can accumulate in the body. Notable among these is ‘COPD’ or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, which is mainly caused by smoking and environmental pollution.
Apart from this, obesity hypoventilation syndrome is more common in obese people. Congenital diseases of the thoracic ribs and vertebrae, such as pectus carinatum/scavetum or kyphoscoliosis (a forward or lateral tilt of the thoracic vertebrae) can also cause this problem. Apart from this, various diseases of the nervous system, such as myopathy (weakening of the body’s muscles), neuropathy (weakening of the nerves), the part of the brain that controls our breathing, any infection, tumor or stroke in the part of the brain can accumulate excess carbon dioxide in the body. Basically, any long-term lung disease can cause carbon dioxide to build up in the blood.
Doctors perform a test called ‘arterial blood gas analysis’ to find out if carbon dioxide has increased or not. Normally, the arterial carbon dioxide side pressure is 35 to 45 millimeters of mercury. If it is more than 45, we assume that excess carbon dioxide is accumulating in the body. Excess carbon dioxide accumulation disrupts the normal functioning of the lungs. Over time, excess carbon dioxide accumulation can lead to death.
How to understand
Generally, the symptoms of excess carbon dioxide accumulation in the body include
2. Dizziness and excessive daytime sleepiness. In medical terms it is called carbon dioxide narcosis.
3. Trembling hands and feet.
4. Sweaty hands and feet.
5. Bounded pulse height.
6. Swelling of the feet.
Treatment and Remedies
The main treatment is the proper treatment of the disease due to which carbon dioxide is accumulating in the body. COPD is increasing day by day in our country. This disease is the main cause of respiratory failure. Quit smoking to avoid this disease. COPD patients should use inhalers regularly as advised by their doctor. If you are overweight, you should reduce it. Take nutritious and healthy food, exercise regularly. There is a device called a ‘bi pap’ machine to remove excess carbon dioxide from the body. In certain cases respiratory-stimulating drugs (eg almitrine and raubacin, medroxy-progesterone) are used. If these treatments fail, the patient is placed on mechanical ventilation.
Author: Associate Professor, Respiratory Medicine, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University
What happens if there is too much carbon dioxide in the body?
Having too much carbon dioxide in the body can cause nonspecific symptoms like headache, fatigue, and muscle twitches. Often, it clears up quickly on its own. With severe hypercapnia, though, the body can’t restore CO2 balance and the symptoms are more serious.
How do we get rid of carbon dioxide in the body?
The Respiratory System
When you breathe out, the same thing happens – only in reverse. This is how the body gets rid of carbon dioxide. The blood collects carbon dioxide from all over the body and carries it back to the air in the alveoli.
Can too much carbon dioxide cause death?
Concentrations of more than 10% carbon dioxide may cause convulsions, coma, and death [1, 15]. CO2 levels of more than 30% act rapidly leading to loss of consciousness in seconds.
What happens if carbon dioxide is not removed from the body?
Respiratory acidosis occurs when the lungs can’t remove enough of the carbon dioxide (CO2) that the body produces. Excess CO2 causes the pH of your blood and other bodily fluids to decrease, making them too acidic. Usually, the body is able to balance the ions that control acidity.
What happens when there is an increase of carbon dioxide in the blood quizlet?
What happens if there is too much carbon dioxide in the blood? Chemoreceptors in the brain, aortic arch, and carotid bodies, resulting in an increase rate of pulmonary ventilation or breathing.
Why does carbon dioxide need to be removed from the body?
Carbon dioxide must be removed from the body or it makes the blood dangerously acidic. Oxygen and carbon dioxide enter and leave the blood by diffusion through the lining of the lungs .
How do you remove carbon from your lungs?
8 Ways to Cleanse Your Lungs
- Get an air purifier.
- Change air filters.
- Avoid artificial scents.
- Go outdoors.
- Try breathing exercises.
- Practice percussion.
- Change your diet.
- Get more aerobic exercise.
How can hypercapnia be corrected?
Initial treatment of hypercapnia is oxygen therapy with the goal of increasing the inspired oxygen volume. If left untreated or under-treated it is highly likely hypoxia and hypoxaemia will occur.
How can we reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?
Here are six options for removing carbon from the atmosphere:
- 1) Forests. …
- 2) Farms. …
- 3) Bio-energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) …
- 4) Direct Air Capture. …
- 5) Carbon Mineralization. …
- 6) Ocean-based Concepts. …
- The Future of Carbon Removal.
What organ removes carbon dioxide from the blood?
The main function of the lungs is gas exchange, to provide oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the blood. When high levels of carbon dioxide are elevated in the blood, it can lead to respiratory failure.
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