Lactic Acid Blood Test
The Lactic Acid Blood Test measures lactate levels in the blood to screen for lactic acidosis.
What is the purpose of this test?
Order this Lactic Acid Blood Test to measure lactate levels in the blood to screen for lactic acidosis. Lactic Acid (Lactate) is a substance produced by muscle tissues and blood cells, that primarily transports oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. Usually, the level of lactic acid in the blood is low. Lactic acid levels increase when oxygen levels decrease. Therefore, conditions that cause low oxygen levels may cause an increase in lactic acid levels. Low oxygen levels may be caused by the following:
- Intense exercise
- Heart attack or stroke
- Respiratory failure
- Severe anemia
- Acute lung disease
- Liver or kidney disease
- Acute infection
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Septic shock, a severe condition that restricts blood flow to the organs and tissues
If left untreated, elevated lactic acid levels can result in a life-threatening condition known as lactic acidosis. This Lactic Acid Blood Test can assist in diagnosing lactic acidosis prior to it causing severe complications.
What other conditions may this test screen for?
Although an individual may order a lactic acid test to help diagnose lactic acidosis, it may also be used to help screen for other conditions, such as:
- Determine if adequate oxygen levels are reaching the body's tissues
- Diagnose sepsis, a potentially fatal reaction to a bacterial infection
If an individual is suspected of having meningitis, this test may also be used to help find out if bacteria or a virus causes it. Meningitis is an acute infection of the brain and spinal cord. A test for lactate in cerebrospinal fluid is used with a lactic acid blood test to determine the type of infection.
When should I order a Lactic Acid Blood Test?
Individuals may order this Lactic Acid Blood Test if they have experienced the symptoms of lactic acidosis. Symptoms of lactic acidosis may include:
- Muscle weakness
- Shortness of breath
- Profuse sweating
- Abdominal pain
- In some rare cases, a coma
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