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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Patients Benefit From New Salt Regimen

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By Source: Health Watch • • April 1, 1997

We've all been told by our mothers that too much salt is bad for us. However, now it appears that salt may be beneficial for CFIDS patients who meet certain criteria. In fact, salt may be a potent fatigue fighter for CFIDS patients.

Fatigue Fighter?

In March 1995, researchers at Johns Hopkins tested seven children with CFIDS symptoms using a tilt table test. The test revealed that all the subjects had a drop in blood pressure with the tilt, a response called neurally mediated hypotension.

Neurally mediated hypotension and CFS may be linked in adults as well. Twenty-three CFIDS adult patients were tested, and all but one individual fainted on the tilt table test.

The patients were then given the standard treatment for the blood pressure disorder: increased salt in their diet, including buffered salt tablets along with one or both of two drugs- florinef acetate (which causes salt and fluid retention, ensuring there will always be some blood in the heart) and beta blockers (blood pressure drugs that reduce heartbeat intensity, preventing the overreaction that triggers blood pressure collapse.)

According to pediatric cardiologist Issam Bou-Houlaigh, M.D., the leader of this study, "We believe salt plays an important role in blood pressure regulation, but it appears to be most effective when used in conjunction with drug therapies."

In the adult study, more than one-half of the people treated for neurally mediated hypotension saw their fatigue symptoms decrease.

Don't Reach for The Salt - Without Knowing The Facts First

Salt can raise blood pressure, and many physicians warn that individuals with high blood pressure should avoid it. Additional salt will most likely hinder, instead of help, those with high blood pressure.

Those who increase salt intake should also remember to drink lots of water to fight dehydration. For every 400 mg of salt consumed, many professionals suggest drinking an additional glass of water.

Salt supplements that include potassium, or an additional potassium supplement are an important part of the regimen, since potassium can often be depleted by sodium chloride intake.

Do You Need More Salt In Your Diet?

The likeliest suspects for neurally mediated hypotension are people who get lightheaded when they stand for prolonged periods (especially in warm weather or during a hot shower) or who feel lightheaded and get abdominal cramps after exercise in the absence of medication. Remember, it is always best to consult a physician before starting any program.

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