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Chloride Blood Test - Functions and Uses

Published on Sep 09, 2022 and last reviewed on Feb 24, 2023   -  5 min read


A chloride blood test measures serum chloride level to ensure the body’s appropriate fraction in the blood. This article will provide more information about it.

What Is a Chloride Blood Test?

Chloride is an electrolyte present in the blood. Electrolytes carry an electric charge when they are dissolved in a liquid state. The electrolytes in the blood comprise chloride, sodium, potassium, and bicarbonate irons. These electrolytes control the nerve and muscle function and maintain the acid-base balance pH and water balance in the body. The level of chloride in the blood is measured with the other electrolytes to rule out certain medical conditions such as kidney diseases, heart failure, high blood pressure, and liver disease.

What Are the Functions of Chloride?

  • Chloride is the second most plenteous electrolyte in the serum after sodium. The major role of chloride in the body is the regulation of body fluids, electrolyte balance, acid-base mechanism, delivery of oxygen to the cells, and preservation of electrical neutrality.

  • Chloride is the main electrolyte present in the extracellular compartment. In the intracellular fluid, chloride gets associated with potassium, and in the extracellular fluid, it is associated with sodium. Together, electrolytes maintain a voltage across the cell membrane and carry out the transport of nutrients in and out of cells. Changes in the plasma and urinary chloride excretion of chloride follow those of sodium, and when there are differences in the level of chloride to those of sodium, they indicate changes in acid-base level.

  • Approximately 90 % of the chloride is excreted in the form of urine and 10 % in the form of stools and sweat. When analyzing the chloride level in the serum electrolytes, abnormal fluoride levels independently can signify severe conditions such as metabolic acidosis or alkalosis.

  • The presence of chloride can be tested in sweat, serum, urine, and feces. Chloride is an important element of diagnostic tests in several clinical situations.

What Are the Uses of Chloride Blood Tests?

An individual chloride blood test is generally not prescribed by the opposition. Chloride blood tests are included in the following blood examinations and screening that estimate multiple factors in the blood.

  • Electrolyte Panel - It is also called a serum electrolyte test that measures levels of the primary electrolyte in the body like sodium and chloride. Sodium and chloride control the amount of fluid in the body.

  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel(CMP) - A comprehensive metabolic panel measures 14 different entities in the blood, which include glucose, calcium, sodium, potassium, aspartate aminotransferase, carbon dioxide, chloride, blood urea nitrogen, albumin, total protein, alkaline phosphatase, alanine transaminase, bilirubin, and creatinine.

  • Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP)- Basic metabolic panel measures eight different entities in the blood, which include glucose, calcium, sodium, potassium, carbon dioxide, chloride, blood urea nitrogen, and creatinine.

The findings with other electrolyte tests can help to evaluate a disorder associated with an imbalance of acids or fluids in the body.

What Happens When Levels of Chloride Gets High in the Body?

Hyperchloremia is a condition caused by an electrolyte imbalance that occurs when there is an increase in the chloride levels in the blood. Chloride is responsible for maintaining the acid-base balance in the body, regulating fluids, and transmitting nerve impulses. Kidneys play a very vital role in the maintenance of chloride. So, an imbalance in this electrolyte is directly related to a problem with the kidney. It can also be caused by other circumstances like diabetes or severe dehydration that affects the capacity of the kidneys to retain chloride balance. Hyperchloremia is generally asymptomatic, and the situation is unnoticed until a routine blood test is done. The symptoms of hyperchloremia include -

  • Muscle weakness.

  • Excessive thirst.

  • Dryness in the mucus membrane.

  • High blood pressure.

What Happens When Levels of Chloride Get Low in the Body?

Hypochloremia Is a condition caused by an electrolyte imbalance that occurs when the level of chloride in the blood decreases. Hypochloremia occurs when the range of chloride is between 98 to 106 milliequivalent per liter for adults and 90 to 100 milliequivalent per liter for children. The symptoms of hypochloremia include -

  • Dehydration.

  • Fluid loss.

  • Weakness or fatigue.

  • Difficulty in breathing.

  • Diarrhea is caused by fluid loss.

  • Vomiting.

What to Do Before a Chloride Blood Test?

  • A chloride blood test is done by taking a blood sample drawn from the vein located on the inside of the elbow or back of the hand.

  • No special requirements are required before a chloride blood test.

  • The amount of fluids to be taken before the result should be consulted with the physician as it can affect the result of the test. Alcohol consumption should be avoided 24 hours before the test.

  • Prior information should be given to the physician about the ongoing medications as well as any vitamins or supplements.

  • Certain drugs like Cortisone, estrogen, ammonium chloride, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are prone to increase the level of chloride in the blood.

  • Conditions such as diarrhea and vomiting before the test can lead to lower chloride results.

What to Expect During a Chloride Blood Test?

  • The healthcare provider makes the patient seated in a chair and then checks the arm for an easily accessible vein.

  • Once the vein is located, they will disinfect the area and insert a needle into the vein to take a blood sample.

  • After the insertion of the needle, a small amount of blood will collect in the test tube.

  • Once enough blood to test is taken, the needle is removed, and bleeding is controlled by a cotton ball or gauze.

  • The entire test procedure will take less than five minutes to be completed.

What Do the Results of a Chloride Blood Test Mean?

The normal range of a chloride blood test is in the range of 96 to 106 milliequivalent per liter.

A low level of chloride (hypochloremia) may indicate -

A high level of chloride than normal levels may indicate -

  • Dehydration.

  • Kidney disease.

  • Metabolic acidosis.

  • Respiratory alkalosis.

  • Cushing syndrome.

Conclusion :

It is very crucial to know that a low chloride result does not certainly mean that there is a presence of a medical condition. Particular conditions and drugs can also increase chloride levels. Many factors affecting the chloride levels include drinking excessive fluids, loss of fluid due to vomiting or diarrhea, certain drugs such as antacids, and an error in the blood test. One should consult the healthcare provider for any abnormal results to determine the cause. Having a high or low chloride level in the test does not always mean the presence of a medical condition and the requirement for treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Are the Normal Chloride Levels in Blood?

The normal chloride levels in the blood range between 96 to 106 milliequivalent per liter. Low chloride levels may lead to life-threatening complications such as:
 - Heart failure.
 - Lung disease.


What Increases Chloride Levels in Blood?

Increased chloride levels in the blood may be caused by the following:
 - Dehydration.
 - Kidney disease.
 - Metabolic acidosis.
 - Respiratory alkalosis.
 - Cushing syndrome.


What Is the Treatment for High Chloride Levels?

Treatment involves:
 - Taking medicines for nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
 - Changing medications if they are a reason for electrolyte imbalance.
 - Increasing fluid intake.
 - Receiving intravenous fluids.
 - Eating a balanced diet.
 - Treating eating disorders if present.
 - Treating mental health problems.
 - Avoid caffeine, Aspirin, and alcohol.


What Are the Functions of Chloride in the Body?

The functions include:
 - Regulation of body fluids, electrolyte balance, acid-base mechanism, oxygen transportation, and preservation of electrical neutrality.
 - Helps in the diagnosis of various conditions.


Why Is a Chloride Test Done?

A chloride blood test rules out certain medical conditions such as heart failure, kidney diseases, liver disease, and high blood pressure.


What Chloride Levels Should I Be Concerned About?

The normal chloride levels in the blood should be between 96 to 106 milliequivalent per liter. Therefore, anything above average requires medical attention to avoid life-threatening complications.


Does High Chloride Cause Fatigue?

High chloride levels may cause:
 - Muscle weakness.
 - Excessive thirst.
 - Dryness in the mucous membrane.
 - High blood pressure.
 - Fatigue.


What Is the Blood Test Done for Dehydration?

Blood tests are done to check for electrolytes, sodium, and potassium levels for dehydration.


Where Does the Body Get Chloride From?

Chloride is obtained from table salt as sodium chloride. Other sources of chloride include:
 - Meat.
 - Seafood.
 - Additives and processed food.


What Is the Importance of Chloride in a Blood Test?

Chloride helps in the following tests:
 - Electrolyte panel.
 - Comprehensive metabolic panel.
 - Basic metabolic panel.


What Is the Reason for High Chloride Levels?

The causes include:
 - High intake of salt.
 - Severe diarrhea.
 - Kidney disease.
 - Bromide poising.
 - Renal and metabolic acidosis.


Should I Be Worried if My Chloride Level Is 108?

The normal chloride levels in the blood should be between 96 to 106 milliequivalent per liter. Therefore, anything above the average level requires medical attention.


Which Food Helps Lower Chloride Levels in the Body?

It is advised to have a balanced healthy diet and reduce excessive salt intake. The following foods may help minimize chloride levels:
 - Refined oil.
 - Honey.
 - Egg whites.
 - Blueberries.
 - White rice.


Does Dehydration Cause Low Chloride?

Many factors are involved in causing abnormal chloride levels in the body, which includes dehydration. Other causes include
 - Diarrhea.
 - Vomiting.
 - Excessive sweating.

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Last reviewed at:
24 Feb 2023  -  5 min read




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