Accumulation of Excess Carbon Dioxide in the Body can Lead to Death, Know the Remedy.
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 situation 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.
To know whether the carbon dioxide has increased or not, doctors perform a test called ‘arterial blood gas analysis’. 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. Overtime, excess carbon dioxide accumulation can lead to death.
How to Understand Excess Carbon Dioxide Accumulation :
Generally, the symptoms of excess carbon dioxide accumulation in the body include—
- Dizziness and excessive daytime sleepiness. In medical terms it is called carbon dioxide narcosis.
- Trembling hands and feet.
- Sweaty hands and feet.
- Bounded pulse height.
- 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. If you are overweight, you should reduce it. COPD patients should use inhalers regularly as advised by their doctor. Take nutritious and healthy food, exercise regularly. There is a device called a ‘VentMed DS8 BiPAP ST30 Machine with Humidifier‘ machine to remove excess carbon dioxide from the body. In certain cases respiratory-stimulant drugs (eg almitrine and robaxin, medroxyprogesterone) are used. If these treatments fail, the patient is placed on mechanical ventilation.
Writer : Associate Professor, Respiratory Medicine, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University