Chloride is an electrolyte. An electrolyte is defined in the Medline Plus dictionary as: (1) A nonmetallic electric conductor in which current is carried by the movement of ions (2) a: a substance (as an acid, base, or salt) that when dissolved in a suitable solvent (as water) or when fused becomes an ionic conductor b: any of the ions (as of sodium, potassium, calcium, or bicarbonate) that in a biological fluid regulate or affect most metabolic processes (as the flow of nutrients into and waste products out of cells)—used especially in biology and biochemistry.

In combination with potassium and sodium, chloride is essential to the proper functioning of the body and keeping it hydrated and having the proper pH balance.  Normally this test is ordered to check kidney problems and hydration.

CHLORIDE BLOOD TEST RESULTS

A typical normal range is 96 – 106 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L or 1000th of a liter).

HIGH CHLORIDE LEVELS

A higher than normal level of chloride (hyperchloremia) can be caused by:
•    Excess of acid in the body’s fluids (metabolic acidosis) usually caused by the kidneys not removing enough acid
•    Low levels of carbon dioxide in the blood
•    Kidney problems from not excreting acids

LOW CHLORIDE LEVELS

A lower than normal level of chloride (hypochloremia) can be caused by:
•    Lower than normal production of hormones by the adrenals (Addison’s Disease)
•    Kidney problems
•    Heart problems
•    Dehydration
•    Vomiting