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.
Causes of Hypochloremia:
- Loss of body fluids from prolonged vomiting, diarrhea, sweating or high fevers.
- Drugs such as: bicarbonate, corticosteroids, diuretics, and laxatives.
Symptoms of Hypochloremia:
- 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 For 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
- 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:
- 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 Contact Your Doctor or Health Care Provider:
- Nausea that interferes with your ability to eat, and is unrelieved by prescribed
- 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
- If you notice excessive sleepiness, confusion.
Return to list of Blood
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.
Chemocare.com is designed to provide the latest information about chemotherapy to patients and their families, caregivers and friends. For information about the 4th Angel Mentoring Program visit www.4thangel.org