My husband constantly craves salt. What causes this?

Answer From Todd B. Nippoldt, M.D.

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

Adrenal insufficiency

Adrenal insufficiency (Addison's disease) is a disorder that occurs when your body doesn't produce enough of certain hormones. In Addison's disease, the adrenal glands, located just above the kidneys, produce too little cortisol and, often, too little aldosterone. These hormones regulate important body functions and help the body respond to stress. Addison's disease can cause a salt craving that's new, ongoing and excessive.

Signs and symptoms of Addison's disease include:

  • Craving salt
  • Muscle aches and weakness
  • Severe tiredness and weakness (fatigue)
  • Nausea and stomach pain
  • Weight loss
  • Low blood pressure
  • Darkening of the skin (hyperpigmentation)

Bartter's syndrome

Salt craving can sometimes be a symptom of a rare kidney disorder called Bartter's syndrome.

Seek medical attention

You'll likely want to have a health care provider evaluate your husband's salt cravings, especially if he has other symptoms. Without a condition that causes salt (sodium) loss, such as Addison's disease or Bartter's syndrome, eating too much salt generally isn't good for you. Eating too much salt can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure and cause swelling from holding too much fluid in the body.

April 27, 2022 See more Expert Answers

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