What is the difference between a strong acid and a weak acid in the pathogenesis of metabolic acidosis?

Updated: Oct 10, 2018
  • Author: Christie P Thomas, MBBS, FRCP, FASN, FAHA; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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Answer

Strong acids are those that are completely ionized in body fluids, and weak acids are those that are incompletely ionized in body fluids. Hydrochloric acid (HCl) is considered a strong acid because it is present only in a completely ionized form in the body, whereas carbonic acid (H2 CO3) is a weak acid because it is ionized incompletely, and, at equilibrium, all three reactants are present in body fluids. See the reactions below.

H2 CO3 (acid)↔H+ + HCO3- (base)

HCl↔H+ + Cl-


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