Normally, the pH of the human body is fixed in a very narrow range between 7.35 and 7.45.?

A patient with an acidotic blood pH of 7.3 may be treated with an alkali such as sodium bicarbonate. Why would this treatment raise the pH of the blood?

4 Answers

  • Because sodium bicarbonate is a base and a higher pH is more basic. Adding a base to an acid will increase the pH to a more basic level. pH scale is from 1 - 14, 14 being extremely basic and 1 being extremely acidic.

  • Like the question says, sodium bicarbonate is an alkali. On the pH scale <7 is acidic, right around 7 is neutral, and >7 is basic or alkali. So adding an alkali to an acidic system helps the system reach neutral, or in this case with in the range of the normal human blood pH.

  • Sodium bicarbonate works in opposition with H+/carbon dioxide. Too much bicarb will make the blood basic (called alkalosis), but too little will cause acidosis (like in your example). Bicarb also acts as a buffer in the blood. So if there are too many H+ ions in the blood, causing the pH to fall, the bicarb can bind to the hydrogen ions, buffering them.

    Hope that helps! 🙂

  • More importanly, why are you too lazy to do your own homework? You are just going to fail once the test comes around.

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