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Care During Chemotherapy and Beyond

Hyperchloremia (High Chloride)

What Is Hyperchloremia?

Hyperchloremia is a high level of chloride in the blood. Chloride is an important electrolyte, and works to ensure that your body's metabolism is working correctly. Your kidneys control the levels of chloride in your blood. Therefore, when there is a disturbance in your blood chloride levels, it is often related to your kidneys.  Chloride helps keep the acid and base balance in the body.

Causes of Hyperchloremia:

  • Loss of body fluids from prolonged vomiting, diarrhea, sweating or high fever (dehydration).
  • High levels of blood sodium.
  • Kidney failure, or kidney disorders
  • Diabetes insipidus or diabetic coma
  • Drugs such as: androgens, corticosteroids, estrogens, and certain diuretics.

Symptoms of Hyperchloremia:

  • Many people do not notice any symptoms of hyperchloremia, unless they are experiencing very high or very low levels of chloride in their blood.
  • Dehydration, fluid loss, or high levels of blood sodium may be noted.
  • You may be experiencing other forms of fluid loss, such as diarrhea, or vomiting when suffering from hyperchloremia.
  • You may be a diabetic, and have poor control over your blood sugar levels (they may be very high).

Things You Can Do For Hyperchloremia:

  • Make sure you tell your doctor, as well as all healthcare providers, about any other medications you are taking (including over-the-counter, vitamins, or herbal remedies).  Do not take aspirin or products containing aspirin unless your healthcare provider permits this.
  • Remind your doctor or healthcare provider if you have a history of diabetes, liver, kidney, or heart disease. 
  • Keep yourself well hydrated if you have hyperchloremia. Drink two to three quarts of fluid every 24 hours, unless you are instructed otherwise.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol, as these can cause you to have electrolyte disturbances. 

Drugs That May Be Prescribed by Your Doctor:

  • As with most types of electrolyte imbalance, the treatment of high blood chloride levels is based on correcting the cause. If there is a dysfunction of your endocrine or hormone system, you may be referred to an endocrinologist for treatment. If there are problems with your kidneys, you may need to see a nephrologist.
  • If your hyperchloremia is due to medications or treatments, these may be altered or removed, if possible.

Note:  We strongly encourage you to talk with your health care professional about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information contained in this website is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute for medical advice.

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