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Carbon Dioxide (CO2) (Bicarbonate Level) Print E-mail

Dr. Kennedy Carbon dioxide (abbreviated CO2) is a gas which is the byproduct of cellular metabolism and which collects in the tissues,. It is cleared from the tissues by the blood at the level of the capillaries and carried by the hemoglobin in the red blood cells to the lungs where it is exhaled into the air. CO2 level in blood drives the hypothalamic breathing regulation feedback mechanism. This is important for a doctor to understand in case a rare disorder known as ROHHAD shows up in his or her practice of medicne. (In brief, this is an insensitivity to CO2 levels.)

Carbon dioxide is measured as the bicarbonate level in the blood. Higher than normal carbon dioxide levels may reflect excessive loss of acid (as with recurrent vomiting or continuous gastric drainage) or acid-base disorders (such as primary aldosteronism and Cushing syndrome).

Lower than normal carbon dioxide levels are common in acidosis (as in diabetic ketoacidosis, kidney disease, and severe diarrhea) or respiratory alkalosis in which too much carbon dioxide is blown off, for example, by hyperventilating.

The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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