Conditions where metabolic acidosis can occur include chronic alcoholism, malnutrition, and diabetic ketoacidosis.
Consuming a diet low in carbohydrates and high in fats can also produce metabolic acidosis. The disorder may also be a symptom of another condition like kidney failure, liver failure, or severe diarrhea.
The build up of lactic acid in the blood due to such conditions as heart failure, shock, or cancer, induces metabolic acidosis.
Some poisonings and overdoses (aspirin, methanol, or ethylene glycol) also produce symptoms of metabolic acidosis.
In mild cases of metabolic acidosis, symptoms include headache, lack of energy, and sleepiness. Breathing may become fast and shallow. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and loss of appetite are also associated with metabolic acidosis.
Diabetic patients with symptoms of metabolic acidosis may also have breath that smells fruity. The patient may lose consciousness or become disoriented. Severe cases can produce coma and death.