Lactic acid is mainly produced in muscle cells and red blood cells. It forms when the body breaks down carbohydrates to use for energy during times of low oxygen levels. Your body's oxygen level might drop during intense exercise or if you have an infection or disease.
A test can be done to measure the amount of lactic acid in the blood.
A blood sample is needed. for information on how this is done, see: Venipuncture.
Do not exercise for several hours before the test. Exercise can cause a temporary increase in lactic acid levels.
When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.
This test is usually done to diagnose lactic acidosis.
DuBose TD Jr. Disorders of acid-base balance. In: Brenner BM, ed. Brenner and Rector's The Kidney. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2008:chap 14.
Seifter JL. Acid-base disorders. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 119.
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