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Definition of Chloride

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Chloride: The major anion (negatively charged substance) in the blood and extracellular fluid (the body fluid that lies outside cells). Blood and other body fluids have almost the same concentration of chloride ion as sea water. The balance of chloride ion (Cl-) is closely regulated by the body.

Significant increases or decreases in chloride can have deleterious and even fatal consequences:

  • Hyperchloremia: Abnormally high blood chloride. Elevations in chloride may be seen in diarrhea, certain kidney diseases, and sometimes in overactivity of the parathyroid glands.
  • Hypochloremia: Abnormally low blood chloride. Chloride is normally lost in the urine, sweat, and stomach secretions. Excessive loss can occur from heavy sweating, vomiting, and adrenal gland and kidney disease.

The normal serum range for chloride is 98 - 108 mmol/L.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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