Feeling weak, nauseous, or having muscle cramps? Wondering what’s causing these symptoms? It is possible that you have high chloride levels in your blood, a condition called hyperchloremia.
Although hyperchloremia is serious, there are ways to manage and treat it.
In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at hyperchloremia, its causes, symptoms, and the steps to manage this condition.
So if you think you might be dealing with hyperchloremia, keep reading to learn more.
What is chloride and why is it important?
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Chloride is an electrolyte that carries an electrical charge and helps regulate the body’s fluid balance.
Chloride helps keep the body’s pH levels balanced and ensures that cells are working correctly, together with sodium and potassium.
It is found in many bodily fluids, including blood, sweat, and urine.
Summary: Chloride regulates the body’s acid-base balance, maintains blood pressure, and facilitates the movement of fluids across cell membranes.
What happens if you have high levels of chloride in your blood?
Having too much chloride in your blood is called hyperchloremia, a condition that occurs as a result of higher than normal levels of chloride ions in the blood.
Hyperchloremia is usually defined as a serum chloride level of over 106 mEq/L.
Causes of hyperchloremia include:
- Dehydration: When the body loses fluids, the concentration of electrolytes in the blood rises, including chloride. This is due to excessive sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, or not drinking enough water.
- Kidney problems: The kidneys regulates electrolyte levels in the blood, including chloride. If your kidneys are not working well, they may not be able to excrete excess chloride from the body.
- Medications: Corticosteroids increases chloride levels in the blood. This is because these drugs affects the way kidneys handle electrolytes leading to imbalance.
Other medical conditions such as congestive heart failure, liver disease, and adrenal gland disorders causes hyperchloremia.
What are the symptoms of hyperchloremia?
Hyperchloremia can cause a variety of symptoms, including:
- Metabolic acidosis
A serum chloride test determines the amount of chloride in your blood. It is often done along with other tests to check the levels of electrolytes, enzymes and other substances in the blood.
By measuring your chloride levels, doctors can learn more about your body’s balance of important substances.
The normal range for chloride in the blood is between 96 and 106 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L).
If hyperchloremia is suspected, additional tests including kidney function test (KFT) may be required.
To treat hyperchloremia is to deal with the root cause of the problem, this may involve:
- Adjusting medication: If medication is the cause of hyperchloremia, adjusting the dosage may help reduce chloride levels.
- Fluid replacement therapy: In cases of dehydration, fluid replacement therapy such as oral rehydration may be necessary to restore electrolyte balance in the body.
- Surgery: In rare cases, a surgery is done to remove a tumor that is causing chloride levels to rise abnormally.
Here are some steps you can take to prevent hyperchloremia:
- Drink enough water to help prevent dehydration
- Avoid eating too much processed and packaged foods that contain high amounts of sodium
- Limit the intakes of potassium chloride supplement
- Avoid medications such as carbonic anhydrase inhibitors
- To manage kidney problems like renal tubular acidosis, stop consuming high amounts of acidic foods
- Exercise regularly to improve kidney function
If you are consuming a diet rich in chloride, you need to follow the RDI guidelines.
Below are the recommended daily intake for chloride according to age and gender:
- Infants 0-6 months: 0.18 g/day
- Infants 7-12 months: 0.57 g/day
- Children 1-3 years: 1.5 g/day
- Children 4-8 years: 1.9 g/day
- Children 9-13 years: 2.3 g/day
- Adults 19-50 years: 2.3 g/day
- Adults 51-70 years: 2.0 g/day
- Adults 70+ years: 1.8 g/day
Conclusion: Are you having high chloride levels in your blood?
If you feel that your body is starting to show mild or severe symptoms of hyperchloremia, seek medical attention right away.
This will ensure that the condition is properly diagnosed and treated, which can help prevent serious complications.
With the right care and treatment, hyperchloremia can be controlled effectively, allowing you to maintain good health and wellbeing.