My husband constantly craves salt. What causes this?

Answers from Todd B. Nippoldt, M.D.

Salt craving can sometimes be caused by a serious underlying medical condition, such as adrenal insufficiency or Bartter syndrome.

Adrenal insufficiency

Adrenal insufficiency (Addison's disease) can cause a salt craving that's new, persistent and excessive.

Signs and symptoms of Addison's disease include:

  • Craving salt
  • Muscle aches and weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and abdominal pain
  • Weight loss
  • Low blood pressure

Bartter syndrome

In some cases, salt craving is a symptom of a rare kidney disorder called Bartter syndrome.

Seek medical attention

Your husband's salt cravings should be evaluated by a doctor, especially if other symptoms are present. In the absence of a demonstrated sodium-losing cause, such as Addison's disease or Bartter syndrome, eating too much salt isn't good for you because it can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure.

May 30, 2014