Chloride helps the body maintain its fluid balance. It also helps make the digestive enzymes that help the body metabolize food. Changes in chloride levels can harm these functions.
When chloride levels are moderately high, a person may not notice any symptoms. Long-term hyperchloremia, however, can cause a range of symptoms.
- fluid retention
- high blood pressure
- muscle weakness, spasms, or twitches
- irregular heart rate
- confusion, difficulty concentrating, and personality changes
- numbness or tingling
- seizures and convulsions
The severity of symptoms depends on how high chloride levels are, how long they have remained that high, and individual factors such as health, nutritional status, use of various medications. The symptoms of hyperchloremia and electrolyte imbalances are so general that it is impossible to diagnose this syndrome based on symptoms alone. People should not self-diagnose.
A simple blood test can detect hyperchloremia.