Oxygen is carried in the blood bound to hemoglobin in red blood cells. The oxygen is released to the cells as needed. Carbon dioxide is carried in several ways but is mostly converted to an acid called carbonic acid. The amount of carbon dioxide that is exhaled is important in regulating the acidity or alkalinity of the blood, based on the amount of carbonic acid that is formed. Dangerous shifts in blood pH can result from too much or too little carbon dioxide being exhaled.
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