What are the symptoms of elevated blood ammonia level?

Symptoms of elevated blood ammonia level are related to decreased kidney or liver function. When waste products, such as ammonia, build up in the blood, they can circulate throughout the body and act as toxins. Elevated blood ammonia level is typically a progressive condition. At its onset, you may not notice any symptoms at all, or you may have only mild symptoms. As the disease worsens, you may experience more symptoms or symptoms of increased severity.

Common symptoms of elevated blood ammonia level

Symptoms of elevated blood ammonia can occur frequently, even daily, or just occasionally. At times, any of these symptoms can be severe:

  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Pain in the back, sides or abdomen
  • Weakness (loss of strength)

Symptoms that might indicate a serious condition

In some cases, elevated blood ammonia can be a serious condition that should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting. Seek immediate medical care if you, or someone you are with, have any of these serious symptoms including:

  • Absent or markedly decreased urine production
  • Change in level of consciousness or alertness, such as passing out or unresponsiveness
  • Changes in mood, personality or behavior
  • Sudden confusion

INTRODUCTION

What is an elevated blood ammonia level?

Ammonia is a nitrogen waste compound that is normally excreted in the urine. An elevated blood ammonia level is an excessive accumulation of ammonia in the blood. An elevated blood ammonia level occurs when the kidneys or liver are not working properly, allowing waste to remain in the bloodstream. Ammonia, like many other waste products in the body, can be poisonous to your cells, and an elevat... Read more about elevated blood ammonia levelintroduction

CAUSES

What causes elevated blood ammonia?

Elevated blood ammonia may be related to a variety of conditions, including hereditary disorders or damage to the liver or kidneys. Elevated blood ammonia levels are occasionally seen in infants and children, and can be related to a hereditary condition or Reye’s syndrome (condition characterized by brain and liver swelling and dysfunction). In adults, causes vary and can include kidney or live... Read more about elevated blood ammonia levelcauses

TREATMENTS

How is elevated blood ammonia level treated?

In some cases, especially in infants, elevated blood ammonia level may be mild enough that it will resolve on its own without any treatment. In more serious cases, however, treatment is necessary because the buildup of ammonia in the bloodstream can have serious consequences. Treatment for elevated blood ammonia level is aimed at removing toxic body waste, such as ammonia, from the bloodstream.... Read more about elevated blood ammonia leveltreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: May 7, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Kidneys and the Urinary System


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