Treatments for Meniere’s disease: Fact, Fiction or Biological Plausibility? Part IV

Salt –How much is too much or too little?

Okay, after a short fourth of July departure, this week we get back on track with our series discussing evidence behind various treatments for Meniere’s disease.

The previously mentioned Sunday New York Times article by Gary Taubes {{1}}[[1]]Salt –Reconsidered Gary Taubes, Sunday New York Times, June 3, 2012[[1]]reviews salt consumption as it relates to hypertension, and never mentions Meniere’s disease. He concedes that there is sufficient evidence showing that increased salt consumption temporarily increases blood pressure, but he points out that it has not been proven that long term salt consumption leads to chronic hypertension and stroke. But it sure makes sense, doesn’t it?

Taubes reviews some recent studies that indicate that a diet too low in salt also has risks. When salt consumption is too low, the kidneys secret a substance known as Renin, which can lead to increased incidence of heart disease. Of course, not everyone agrees on this either.

We typically tell our patients that there is a connection between salt intake and severity and frequency of symptoms in many Meniere’s patients. We ask them to monitor their salt intake, keep it down to around 1500 mg per day, and to try and keep their salt intake consistent over days. Unlike a low fat diet, where you might eat salad all week if you know you are going out for cheeseburgers and fries on Saturday, you don’t want to have a spike in salt consumption. More importantly, we ask them to keep a food diary of anything they ate within 24 hours prior to an attack with the hopes of seeing if increased salt (or something else) may be a trigger for that individual’s symptoms. Ultimately, each patient will be able to decide how much salt they can tolerate before symptoms are triggered, or how many symptoms they can tolerate before they adhere to a strict, not so much fun, low salt diet.

 

 

About Alan Desmond

Dr. Alan Desmond is the director of the Balance Disorders Program at Wake Forest Baptist Health Center, and holds an adjunct assistant professor faculty position at the Wake Forest School of Medicine. In 2015, he received the Presidents Award from the American Academy of Audiology.