Bicarbonate is normally measured as part of a kidney function test.

To put it simply, bicarbonate measures the level of carbon dioxide in the blood. The bicarbonate’s main purpose is to maintain acid-base balance in the body (pH). It works with potassium, sodium and chloride to maintain the electrolyte balance in the body.

Low levels of bicarbonate may indicate kidney disease or a diabetic complication called – ketoacidosis.

High levels of bicarbonate are seen during diarrhea, profuse vomiting and during oxygen therapy for some lung diseases e.g. emphysema.

This test is part of the kidney function test. It is also an integral part of other tests, providing vital context to solving health problems.

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