What Is the Normal Blood Gas Reading?

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What Is the Normal Blood Gas Reading?
Blood gases can reveal pH imbalances in the body. (Image by Fotolia.com, courtesy of drx)

The human body requires an environment that is neither too acidic nor too alkaline, a state measured on a scale called pH balance. Blood gas readings can detect imbalances in a person's pH balance as well as factors associated with various diseases.

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pH Levels

According to the Arterial Blood Gas web site, pH level describes the acidity level in the body. Actions of the respiratory system tend to control acid levels, while the body's metabolic systems tend to control alkaline levels.

Arterial Blood Gas

Doctors normally measure arterial blood gas (ABG) to check the blood's oxygen pressure (pO2) and saturation, carbon dioxide pressure (pCO2), bicarbonate levels (HCO3), and pH levels.

Normal Levels

Normal pH for the body ranges from 7.35 to 7.45. Other normal ranges include pCO2 between 35 and 45, pO2 between 80 and 100, oxygen saturation between 95 per cent and 100 per cent, and HCO3 between 22 and 26.

Respiratory Readings

Low pH and PCO2 levels indicate possible pneumonia or other illnesses, while high levels may mean hyperventilation.

Metabolic Readings

Low pH and HCO3 point to a kidney ailment or diabetes, while high levels can result from lack of potassium (hypokalemia) or insufficient stomach acid.

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