Last Updated on August 1, 2022 by Dr. Neeraj Gujar
Chloride test Overview
The amount of chloride in the blood can be measured by a chloride blood test. Chloride is a type of electrolyte that is an electrically charged mineral.
The electrolyte chloride helps maintain a healthy fluid and acid-base balance. A chloride blood test (or serum chloride level) is often part of a comprehensive metabolic panel.
Your levels of sodium and potassium are also measured by a metabolic panel. For normal nerve function, the proper balance of these electrolytes is crucial. It is also vital for fluid absorption and elimination.
The test can detect abnormal levels of blood chloride and help your doctor diagnose some health conditions. These conditions include acidosis which is when your blood is too acidic or too alkaline. You can also use the blood test to monitor conditions like:
- High blood pressure
- Kidney disease
- Heart failure
- Liver disease
Why Chloride Test Is Done?
A routine blood screening will usually include a chloride test to assess your overall health. This test can also be used to diagnose any imbalances or fluid imbalances in your body.
Also Read: Everything About a Blood Test
When To Get Tested?
A routine blood test or the electrolyte panel may have included a chloride test. An electrolyte panel measures the levels of chloride and other electrolytes such as potassium and sodium. If you experience symptoms of acidity or fluid imbalances, a chloride blood test may be required.
- Excessive fatigue
- Muscle Weakness
- Prolonged diarrhea
- Frequent vomiting
- Excessive thirst
- Trouble breathing
- High blood pressure
How To Get Tested?
You should not drink or eat during the eight hours leading up to the test to get accurate results. Your test results may be affected by hormones, nonsteroidal immuno-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or diuretics.
Talk to your doctor about all medications, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs. These medications may need to be stopped before the test.
Also Read: 4 Blood Tests to Assess Your Heart Health
During the Test
The test involves drawing blood from the vein at the back of your hand or inside your elbow. To prevent infection, the person who draws blood will disinfect the area.
They’ll then wrap your arm in an elastic band, allowing the veins to expand and making them visible. The doctor will take a sample of blood and cover it with gauze or a bandage.
This process takes only a few moments. Within three to five working days, the lab will analyze your blood sample. The results will be emailed to you by your doctor.
After The Test
The routine laboratory test of drawing blood is called a “blood draw”. There are very few side effects. These rare side effects are:
- Excessive bleeding
- Infection at the puncture site
- A hematoma is a blood clot beneath the skin.
If the procedure is done correctly, infections are rare. If the puncture does not close automatically or you feel pain and swelling, call your doctor immediately.
The blood-chloride level is normal at between 96 to 106 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L).
A healthcare expert taking a blood sample to test chloride and other electrolytes in blood
Also Read: Renal Function Test
Hyperchloremia is a high level of chloride that’s higher than normal. Hypochloremia is a condition in which your chloride levels are too low.
There are many reasons your chloride levels might not be normal.
High levels of chloride can be caused by:
- Treatments for glaucoma
- Bromide poisoning
- Metabolic or renal acidosis is when your body produces too many acids or your kidneys can’t remove them effectively.
- Respiratory alkalosis occurs when your blood levels are low in carbon dioxide.
- Severe dehydration
Low levels of chloride can be caused by:
- Heart failure
- Excessive sweating
- Excessive vomiting
- Metabolic alkalosis is a condition in which your tissues become too basic (or alkaline).
- Respiratory acidosis is a condition in which your lungs are unable to remove enough carbon dioxide from the body.
- Addison’s disease occurs when your adrenal glands, located on top of the kidneys, don’t produce enough hormones to maintain an electrolyte balance.
A high level of chloride is not a sign that you are suffering from a disease. The University of Rochester Medical Center says that many factors can influence the amount of chloride in your blood. The test results may vary from one lab to the next.
Fluid levels can also impact your results. Chloride levels may be affected by fluid loss due to diarrhea or vomiting. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions.
What to do next?
The results of your blood test will determine whether you have an abnormally high/low blood chloride level. It is possible to correct electrolyte abnormalities without any serious underlying liver, kidney, or heart disease.
Inform your doctor about all OTC and prescription medications that you are taking. If you have any questions, your doctor will be able to advise you on which medications you should stop taking.
Abnormal blood chloride levels can lead to more serious health problems, including liver, kidney, and heart disease. These cases may be treated early to improve your outlook. Follow your doctor’s advice.
In case of severe low levels of chloride, you may be given an intravenous (IV) saline solution to restore your electrolyte levels. If your electrolyte imbalance is mild, your doctor may advise you to eat foods rich in chloride or take a supplement. Yet it is recommended to check with your doctor before starting any supplements.
Some of the medications that can cause low chloride levels are bicarbonate, diuretics, corticosteroids, and laxatives.
Chloride is found in table salt or sea salt as sodium chloride. This mineral is also found in many vegetables such as seaweed, tomatoes, rye, lettuce, olives, and celery.
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- Types of blood tests. (2012).