Chloride is the major negative ion of extracellular fluid. Sea water has almost the same concentration of chloride ion as human body fluids. Chloride also plays a role in helping the body maintain a normal balance of fluids.
The important functions of chloride are maintenance of ECF acid-base balance and osmotic pressure. It is also essential for the secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. The balance of chloride ion (Cl-) is closely regulated by the body. Significant increases or decreases in chloride can have deleterious or even fatal consequences.
The total body chloride content is about 2150 mmoles in a 60 kg man.
Increased level of chloride (hyperchloremia): may be seen in diarrhoea, certain kidney diseases, and sometimes in over activity of the parathyroid glands.
Decreased chloride level (hypochloremia): 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 range for serum chloride is 98 - 108 mmol/L.
Last modified: Wednesday, 15 February 2012, 6:32 AM