Salt craving refers to a marked increase in a person's appetite for salt. It is important to distinguish simple overuse from excessive intake.


Adrenal insufficiency:

(1) Addison's disease


Polyuria with salt loss (renal):

(1) Bartter's syndrome

(2) Gitelman's syndrome

(3) pseudohypoaldosteronism


Excessive salt loss in sweat:

(1) excessive sweating

(2) cystic fibrosis



(1) rarely iron deficiency (a form of pica)

(2) congestive heart failure (? hypo-osmolality associated with water retention)

(3) normokalemic periodic paralysis


Differential diagnosis:

(1) cultural or racial factors

(2) taste preference


Measures to consider in the initial evaluation of the patient:

(1) blood pressure (many metabolic or renal causes are associated with hypotension)

(2) salt intake diary

(3) 24 hour urine volume and electrolytes

(4) sources of obvious sweat loss

(5) hydration status


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