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Our bodies need electrolytes — both negatively and positively charged — for multiple functions. The anion gap measures the difference between the positive and negative electrolytes in the blood. An anion gap measurement that is too high or too low indicates a possible problem in the kidneys, lungs, or another part of the body.

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1. Calculating the Anion Gap

The anion gap is the sum of chloride and bicarbonate subtracted from sodium, calculated using the results of a test that measures electrolyte levels in the blood. The normal value varies widely and heavily depends on the person and the accuracy with which the lab analyzes the sample.

Lab Tests Calculation jarun011 / Getty Images
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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.