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High chloride level in the blood

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High chloride level in the blood

What is high chloride level in the blood called?

  • Hyperchloremia

What is the normal chloride level in the blood?

If you need to know which are the chloride reference ranges or you require more information about the role of chloride in the blood you can visit: Normal chloride level in the blood

What does a high chloride level in the blood mean?

A chloride level in the blood above normal range is called hyperchloremia. It shows an unbalance in the water and chloride amount in the body. Hyperchloremia occurs when the water loss are higher than the chloride loss or when the procedure to excrete the excessive amount of chloride out of the body does not work properly.

The main reasons for an increase of chloride in the blood are:

  • A high intake of chloride on diet.
  • An excessive amount of chloride absorbed in the gut.
  • Metabolic acidosis.
  • Excessive renal reabsorption of chloride.

It is very common to see hyperchloremia in case of dehydration or kidney disorders.

Hyperchloremia is usually related to hypernatremia (a high sodium level in the blood) and metabolic acidosis.

In the International System of Units (SI), chloride in the blood is measured in mmol/L. The numeric values in this case are the same in mEq/L or in mmol/L.

Hyperchloremia or a high chloride blood level means:

  • Mild hyperchloremia (106 - 115 mEq/L in adults):

    Chloride in the blood is a bit high, but it is not a matter for concern. It may be due to dehydration or interaction with medication.

    It is advisable to study the sodium blood level for a better diagnosis.

    If there is no other alteration, it is probable that in the next blood test the chloride value in the blood returns to the normal range.

  • Moderate hyperchloremia (115 - 125 mEq/L in adults):

    These values require a visit your doctor to study the possible causes.

    You may suffer symptoms like lethargy, weakness, fatigue or tachypnea (a respiration rate greater than normal).

  • Marked hyperchloremia (> 125 mEq/L in adults):

    Values of chloride above 125 mEq/L are considered a serious matter, although it is not common.

    It requires urgent medical attention to avoid arrhythmia or a possible coma.

Which factors can raise the chloride level in the blood?

There are some health circumstances or drugs than can raise your chloride level in the blood:

  • Dehydration (due to excessive sweating, vomiting or diarrhea)
  • Diarrhea
  • Saline solution treatment
  • Drugs
    • Antiepileptic drugs
      • Acetazolamide
    • Diuretics
      • Hydrochlorothiazide
    • Carbonic anhydrase inhibitor
    • Salicylates

Which diseases can raise your chloride level in the blood?

A chloride level higher than normal may be a sign of the following diseases:

  • Metabolic acidosis
  • Renal tubular acidosis
  • Respiratory alkalosis
  • Diabetes insipidus
  • Kidney failure
  • Nephrotic syndrome
  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Cushing's syndrome
  • Eclampsia

What can I do to lower the chloride level in the blood?

If your chloride level in the blood is a bit high, you can consider the following tips:

  • Increase your water intake (it may be due to dehydration).
  • Reduce your salt (sodium chloride) intake.

In case of severe hyperchloremia, intravenous sodium bicarbonate is available under medical prescription.

Where can I find more information about chloride level in the blood?

You can visit our pages about:

Which values are considered a high chloride level in the blood?

The following values are considered to be above the normal range:

IMPORTANT: These levels are expressed in mEq/L (mmol/L). They are an example of a healthy man of about 45 years old with no known disease and not taking any medication. The ranges can be different depending on the laboratory or on your personal circumstances.

Chloride
Mild hyperchloremia
107 mEq/L108 mEq/L109 mEq/L110 mEq/L111 mEq/L112 mEq/L113 mEq/L114 mEq/L
115 mEq/L       
Moderate hyperchloremia
116 mEq/L117 mEq/L118 mEq/L119 mEq/L120 mEq/L121 mEq/L122 mEq/L123 mEq/L
124 mEq/L125 mEq/L      
Marked hyperchloremia
126 mEq/L127 mEq/L128 mEq/L129 mEq/L130 mEq/L131 mEq/L132 mEq/L133 mEq/L
134 mEq/L135 mEq/L136 mEq/L137 mEq/L138 mEq/L139 mEq/L140 mEq/L141 mEq/L
142 mEq/L143 mEq/L144 mEq/L145 mEq/L146 mEq/L147 mEq/L148 mEq/L149 mEq/L
150 mEq/L       
Last update: 28/10/2020

Bibliography

  • Concise Book of Medical Laboratory Technology: Methods and Interpretations. 2nd Edition. 2015. Ramnik Sood. ISBN: 978-93-5152-333-8. Pag. 500.
  • Tietz. Fundamentals of Clinical Chemistry. Carl A. Burtis, Edward R. Ashwood, David E. Bruns, Barbara G. Sawyer. WB Saunders Company, 2008. Pag 662. ISBN: 978-0-7216-3865-2
  • Laboratory tests and diagnostic procedures with nursing diagnoses (8th ed), Jane Vincent Corbett, Angela Denise Banks, ISBN: 978-0-13-237332-6, Pag 121.
  • Hyperchloremia – Why and how, Glenn T. Nagami Disponible en: http://scielo.isciii.es

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