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Care During Chemotherapy and Beyond

Hypochloremia (Low Chloride)



What Is Hypochloremia?

Hypochloremia is an electrolyte imbalance and is indicated by a low level of chloride in the blood.  The normal adult value for chloride is 97-107 mEq/L.

Chloride in your blood 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 the acid and base balance in the body.

What Are Some Symptoms of Hypochloremia?

Causes of hypochloremia may include:

  • Loss of body fluids from prolonged vomiting, diarrhea, sweating or high fevers.
  • Drugs such as: bicarbonate, corticosteroids, diuretics, and laxatives.

What Are Some Symptoms of Hypochloremia To Look For?

  • Many people do not notice any symptoms, 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.

Things You Can Do If Your Blood Test Results Indicate Hypochloremia :

  • 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. 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 for Hypochloremia:

  • As with most types of electrolyte imbalance, the treatment of low 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 low blood chloride levels are due to medications or treatments, these may be altered or removed, if possible.

When To Call Your Doctor or Health Care Provider About Hypochloremia:

  • Nausea that interferes with your ability to eat, and is unrelieved by prescribed medication.
  • Vomiting (vomiting more than 4-5 times in a 24 hour period).
  • Diarrhea (4-6 episodes in a 24-hour period), unrelieved with taking anti-diarrhea medication and diet modification.
  • Severe constipation, unrelieved by laxatives, lasting 2 to 3 days.
  • Muscle twitching, irritability, increased urination, poor appetite that does not improve.
  • If you notice excessive sleepiness, confusion.

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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.