Renal Tubular Acidosis, Causes and symptoms of Renal Tubular Acidosis

Renal Tubular Acidosis

  • Posted on- May 08, 2018
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Renal Tubular Acidosis

Renal tubular acidosis can be referred to as the electrolytic disturbance that is caused because of impaired excretion of renal hydrogen ions, impaired bicarbonate resorption or abnormal production of aldosterone.

This condition leads to a chronic metabolic acidosis with a gap in an anion. Usually, hyperchloremia or excess of chlorine in blood may be present. Some of the other features may be with electrolytes of potassium and calcium.

Chronic renal tubular acidosis is associated with damages of renal tubules in your kidneys. If ignored or not diagnosed at the right time, this condition may lead to chronic kidney diseases.

Renal tubular acidosis is classified based on the mechanism involved. If the impairment is with hydrogen ion excretion, the disorder is called Type 1 renal tubular acidosis.

In Type 2 renal tubular acidosis, impairment is caused due to bicarbonate resorption. In Type 4 renal tubular acidosis, the defect is caused by decrease in the level of aldosterone. Type 4 is quite common, whereas type 1 is rare and type 2 is extremely rare.

Causes of Renal Tubular Acidosis

The causes of type 1 renal tubular acidosis could be:

  • Sjögren's syndrome
  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Lupus
  • Analgesic nephropathy
  • Kidney transplant rejection
  • A hereditary form of deafness
  • Renal medullary cystic disease
  • Obstructive uropathy
  • Chronic urinary tract infections

The causes of type 2 renal tubular acidosis could be:

  • Kidney transplant rejection
  • Wilson’s disease
  • Fanconi syndrome
  • Cystinosis
  • Hereditary fructose intolerance
  • Multiple myeloma

The causes of type 4 renal tubular acidosis could be –

  • Obstructive uropathy
  • Addison’s disease
  • Syndrome Hyporeninemic Hypoaldosteronism
  • Heparin
  • Potassium sparing Diuretics
  • Diabetic Nephropathy
  • Interstitial Nephritis


Unfortunately, most of the causes of renal tubular acidosis are not preventable. However, following are some prevention measures you can adopt:

  • Maintain your health by consuming healthy food
  • Balance the levels of blood pressure and diabetes
  • Regularly exercise

How is Renal Tubular Acidosis diagnosed?

Renal tubular acidosis can be easily diagnosed using the following methods:

  • Urine Tests
  • Acid Load Test
  • Physical Examination


Symptoms of Renal Tubular Acidosis

Usually, renal tubular acidosis is asymptomatic in nature, meaning that it causes no symptoms or signs. It is rare for a severe electrolyte imbalance to happen, but in case it does, your situation could be life-threatening. Some symptoms of renal tubular acidosis are:

  • Nephrolithiasis or Kidney stones
  • Nephrocalcinosis (Calcium deposits in kidney)
  • Electrolyte excretion
  • Extracellular fluid volume depletion
  • Muscle weakness
  • Hyporeflexia
  • Paralysis
  • Bone pain in adults
  • Rickets in children
  • Cardiac arrhythmia



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