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Chloride (Cl)

What Affects the Test

Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:

  • The amount of water in your body. If you are dehydrated, your chloride level is increased, and if you are overhydrated, your chloride level is decreased.
  • Some medicines, such as corticosteroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), estrogens, male hormones (androgens), some blood pressure medicines, cholestyramine (such as Questran), and some "water pills" (diuretics).
  • Failing to collect exactly 24 hours of urine during a 24-hour urine test for chloride.

What To Think About

  • The results from a blood or urine chloride test do not provide enough information to diagnose a specific disease or problem. Your doctor will talk with you about how your results may be caused by your symptoms or past health.
  • Potassium chloride (found in salt substitutes) can lower your blood chloride levels but raise your urine chloride levels.
  • Tests for sodium, potassium, and bicarbonate usually are done at the same time as a blood test for chloride.
  • The skin sweat test for chloride is used to test for cystic fibrosis. To learn more, see the topic Sweat Test.


  1. Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Other Works Consulted

  • Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.

  • Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

  • Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerThomas M. Bailey, MD - Family Medicine
Current as ofMarch 26, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 26, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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