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Why is Chloride Part of Routine Blood Tests?

Why is Chloride Part of Routine Blood Tests?
July 10
10:18 2019

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written about different blood test results that many seniors undergo. As we get older, doctors like to order more regular and comprehensive blood tests to check for many different health factors. Face it, as we age, we become more prone to many health conditions and many of those health conditions can be detected by routine blood tests.

One of the blood tests many doctors run on us older folks is a comprehensive metabolic panel. Included in this comprehensive test is checking for the amount of chloride in your blood.

Yes, I know that chlorine is toxic, but it also plays an important role in our health. The form of chlorine found in our bodies is known as chloride. It is in the form of a negatively charged ion which is one of a number of electrolytes that helps keep things running. Athletes or workers who sweat a lot, often take drinks that contain electrolytes to help them to performing to the best of their ability. Chloride, along with sodium and potassium are among the key electrolytes that help keep our muscles and brain functioning. Additionally, chloride helps maintain the body’s pH (acid./base) balance.

When looking at one’s blood test results, the level of chloride can be a signal of heart and/.or kidney problems. According to most sources, one’s chloride level detected in a blood test should range from 98-107 mmol/L (millimoles per liter), which isn’t very much, but is important.

In November 2014, my chloride level was right at 98 mmol/L. Since that test, it has ranged from 93mmol/L to 96 mmol/L. While these levels are below the normal range, they are not that far below to be a concern.

But what does having too much or too little chloride in your blood really mean?

Chloride levels above 106 could point to kidney problems, such as renal tubular acidosis (when your kidneys aren’t removing enough acids from your blood and into your urine).

Low levels have several other possible causes, including common, temporary problems such as vomiting and dehydration. Among the more serious causes are:

 

  • Congestive heart failure (when your heart muscle is weakened and can’t pump blood to your body as it should)

 

  • Burns
  • Addison’s disease (when your adrenal glands don’t make enough of certain hormones)
  • Metabolic alkalosis (low potassium and chloride in the blood)
  • Hyperaldosteronism (a condition that can cause high blood pressure and weakness)
  • Chronic (ongoing) lung disease

 

 

I know many people just rely on their doctor to tell them if anything is wrong or a concern with their blood tests, but it pays to take the time to actually check your readings in all areas. Sometimes, there are things you can do to help bring readings more into the normal range and thus help avoid the possibly of future health concerns and your chloride level is one of those tests worth checking.

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