Electrolyte balance is rarely considered by most people when assessing the general health of an individual. Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, chloride, and calcium are very important because they control numerous bodily processes such as pH balance, regulating fluids, etc.
For example, chloride is one of the main electrolytes in your body. It is processed by your kidneys and in the right quantities, it will keep you healthy and well. In abnormal quantities, chloride can cause a host of problems. Keep reading to find out more.
What Is Chloride?
Chloride is an electrolyte that maintains the acid-base balance in your body. This is also known as the pH balance and it stops your blood from becoming too acidic or too alkaline. Chloride also helps with transmitting nerve impulses. These impulses control the hundreds of muscles in your body.
Normal chloride levels in an adult individual are between 98 and 107 mEq/L of blood. Anything higher than that can lead to symptoms and health complications.
What Are the Symptoms of High Chloride?
When you have too much chloride in the blood, this condition is also known as hyperchloremia. It can produce a range of symptoms such as the following ones:
- Excessive muscle weakness and fatigue
- Being thirsty most of the times
- High blood pressure
- Confusion and lethargy
Generally, hyperchloremia will make you feel tired and in no mood for anything. However, these symptoms are pretty common with many other health problems and ailments. The only reliable way to determine if your chloride levels are high is by using an electrolyte blood test.
Keep in mind that some individuals might not experience symptoms at all. If these are present, they vary from individual to individual depending on age, sex, fitness level, and so on.
What Are the Causes of Hyperchloremia?
Remember that your kidneys regulate the amount of chloride in your body and keep a fine balance when it comes to your electrolytes. In many cases, too much chloride might be caused by kidney problems and their inability to regulate this substance properly.
Here are other potential causes:
- Frequent diarrhea
- Ingestion of too much salt, saltwater, or saline solution in a hospital setting
- Renal acidosis - it happens when your kidneys don't properly eliminate acid in your body, creating an excess of acids in your blood
- Using drugs such as carbonic anhydrase inhibitors - these are used to treat people with glaucoma and might cause base depletion in your body
- Respiratory alkalosis - this usually happens when a person hyperventilates and has too little carbon dioxide in his/her bloodstream
In some cases, a patient can develop hyperchloremic acidosis. This is a condition in which either your body loses an alkaline substance or preserves too many acidic substances. This can also be caused by severe diarrhea, the use of certain drugs, or kidney damage.
How Is Hyperchloremia Diagnosed?
As mentioned earlier, the most accurate way to determine if you have too much chloride in your blood is by using a blood test. You can order an individual blood test for this particular electrolyte only. It's usually called a chloride blood test.
However, it's recommended to test other electrolytes and related substances in your body. This will give you a broader view of your pH balance, kidney function, and the way your system processes electrolytes such as chloride.
You can do that by ordering a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel. This is a group of blood tests that checks your sodium, potassium, calcium, chloride, and carbon dioxide levels. Other substances, enzymes, and proteins might be checked too such as albumin, bilirubin, blood urea nitrogen, and so on.
This helps doctors rule out other potential health problems and find out exactly why you have too much chloride in the blood. The results of such a complex blood test are usually back within a few business days, so in about a week you'll have an accurate answer.
What Are the Complications of Hyperchloremia?
Keep in mind that too much chloride in your blood might be caused by a set of kidneys that don't work properly. Therefore, complications might be related to these important organs and that's why you need to act fast and order a comprehensive metabolic blood test.
For example, some of the complications of hyperchloremia include:
- Kidney stones
- Complete kidney failure
- Poorly functioning kidneys that might require a transplant in the future
- Heart and muscle problems
- Bone ailments and diseases
If you have too much chloride in your body, your blood might become too acidic. This means that overly acidic blood circulates through your heart and muscles, causing damage over time. This is how complications to these organs can develop.
Similarly, too much chloride might lead to calcium imbalances. Calcium is essential for bone health and if it's not properly processed by the body, you might develop bone ailments and/or diseases in the long run.
How Is Hyperchloremia Treated?
Fortunately, having too much chlorine in the blood can be fixed with the right treatment. The exact treatment option depends on how you acquired too much chloride in the blood or other factors. For example, if hyperchloremia is caused by dehydration, the treatment is to hydrate yourself frequently.
At the same time, your doctor might ask you to stop caffeine and alcohol ingestion for a while. These are known to cause your body to lose more fluids, so they can make your dehydration problem worse.
Another treatment option is to stop taking drugs that are causing a rise in chloride in your blood. In case your kidneys are poorly functioning, a nephrologist might be able to provide an adequate treatment option for you.
Order the Comprehensive Metabolic Panel Today!
Remember that many people don't show any symptoms of having too much chloride in their bodies, but they are still affected by this health problem. The only way to find out if chloride is causing you to be tired and confused is by using a comprehensive metabolic panel.
You can order the comprehensive metabolic cmp panel blood test from Discountedlabs.com today! This vendor offers you the most affordable blood tests and the results will be emailed to you in a few business days.