Hypochloremia is an electrolyte imbalance that occurs when there is a low amount of chloride in your body. Chloride is an electrolyte. It works with other electrolytes in your system, such as sodium and potassium, to control the amount of fluid and pH left in your body. Chloride is widely used as a table salt (sodium chloride).
What are the symptoms of hypochloremia?
You will usually not notice the symptoms of hypochloremia. Instead, you may have symptoms of some electrolyte imbalance or a condition that causes hypochloremia.
- fluid loss
- weakness or fatigue
- difficulty breathing
- diarrhea or vomiting, caused by fluid loss
Hypochloremia may also be accompanied by hyponatremia, a low level of sodium in the blood.
What causes hypochloremia?
Since the electrolyte levels in your blood are controlled by your kidneys, electrolyte imbalances such as hypochloremia can be caused by a problem with your kidneys.
Hypochloremia can also be caused by the following conditions:
- heart failure
- prolonged diarrhea or vomiting
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, such as emphysema
- metabolic alkalosis, in which your blood pH is higher than normal
Certain types of medications, such as laxatives, stomach, corticosteroids, and bicarbonates, can also cause hypochloremia.
Hypochloremia and Chemotherapy
Hypochloremia, as well as other electrolyte imbalances, can be caused by chemotherapy.
Side effects of chemotherapy can include:
- prolonged vomiting or diarrhea
These side effects can contribute to fluid loss. Loss of fluid by cleaning and diarrhea can lead to electrolyte imbalance.
How is hypochloremia diagnosed?
Your doctor can diagnose hypochloremia by having a blood test to check your chlorine level. In general, blood chloride is not the only factor being tested. It will be installed as part of an electrolyte or metabolic panel.
The amount of chloride in your blood is measured as concentration – the amount of chloride in milliequivalents (mEq) per liter (L). Typical reference levels of blood chloride are below.
Values below the appropriate reference range may indicate hypochloremia:
- adults: 98-106 mEq/L
- children: 90-110 mEq/L
- newborns: 96-106 mEq/L
- Premature babies: 95-110 mEq/L
If your doctor suspects metabolic alkalosis, they may arrange for a chloride urine test and a sodium urine test. This will help your doctor determine what type of acid-base imbalance exists.
Like a blood chloride test, urine test results are also given to mEq/L. Typical urine chloride results range from 25 to 40 mEq/L. If the chloride level in your urine is less than 25 mEq/L, then you may be losing chloride through your intestinal tract or cystic fibrosis.
Treatment of Hypochloremia
If your doctor finds an electrolyte imbalance such as hypochloremia, they will investigate whether the condition, disease, or medication you are taking causes the imbalance to occur. Your doctor will work with you to treat a problem that causes an electrolyte imbalance.
If your hypochloremia is due to the medication or medication you are taking, your doctor may adjust the dose, if possible. If your hypochloremia is due to kidney problems or endocrine disorders, your doctor may refer you to a specialist.
You can get intravenous fluid (IV), as a common saline solution, to restore electrolytes to normal levels. Your doctor may also ask you to check your electrolyte levels regularly for monitoring purposes.
If your hypochloremia is mild, it can sometimes be corrected by adjusting your diet. This can be as simple as eating sodium chloride (salt) more.
Can it be prevented?
You can take the following steps to prevent hypochloremia:
- Make sure your doctor knows your medical history – especially if you have kidney disease, heart disease, liver disease, or diabetes.
- Make sure your doctor knows all the medications you are taking.
- Stay hydrated.
- Try to avoid both caffeine and alcohol. Both can contribute to dehydration.
What happens if chloride is low?
One of the most important of these electrically charged minerals is chloride. It works with other electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, to help balance acids and bases in your body. It also helps move fluid in and out of your cells. So if your chloride levels drop, you can become sick and dehydrated.
What does a deficiency of chloride in the diet cause?
Chloride deficiency led to contraction of the extracellular volume and the substitution of poorly absorbable anions for readily absorbable chloride. These alterations caused the development of the negative hydrogen ion and potassium balances which led to hypokalemic metabolic alkalosis.
What's a normal chloride level?
A typical normal range is 96 to 106 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L) or 96 to 106 millimoles per liter (millimol/L). Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your provider about the meaning of your specific test results.
How can I increase my chloride levels naturally?
Chloride is found in table salt or sea salt as sodium chloride. It is also found in many vegetables. Foods with higher amounts of chloride include seaweed, rye, tomatoes, lettuce, celery, and olives.
Why is chloride low in heart failure?
There are multiple proposed mechanisms by which low chloride concentrations may lead to an adverse outcome in patients with HF: by increasing renin release; by a stimulatory effect on the with-no-lysine kinases which might increase renal sodium-chloride co-transporter activity; and by an adverse effect on myocardial.
How does chloride affect the body?
Chloride is one of the most important electrolytes in the blood. It helps keep the amount of fluid inside and outside of your cells in balance. It also helps maintain proper blood volume, blood pressure, and pH of your body fluids.
Where is chloride found in the body?
Chloride is the most common anion in the body and is primarily found in the extracellular blood compartment (serum or plasma). Chloride, with sodium, potassium, and bicarbonate, regulates water distribution, osmotic pressure, pH, and ion balance in the extracellular compartment of the blood.