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Ménière's Disease and Sodium

Topic Overview

The cause of Ménière's disease is unknown, but it may be related to a fluid imbalance in the inner ear. When the fluid builds up, it causes excess pressure. This pressure affects the sensory systems in the inner ear used to maintain balance, which leads to episodes of vertigo.

Salt "attracts" fluids—it makes your body retain excess fluid. So eating less salt may result in less buildup of fluid in the ear and fewer episodes of vertigo. But eating less salt doesn't reduce the intensity or severity of vertigo during episodes.

Evidence exists that restricting sodium to 1,000 mg a day may help people with Ménière's disease. It is well worth the effort for those with Ménière's disease to know how much salt their food contains and to limit salt intake.

  • Episodes of vertigo can be severe. Eating less salt may reduce their frequency.
  • Fewer episodes of vertigo may also reduce problems with balance.
  • Having fewer episodes of vertigo means a better quality of life.

Eating less sodium doesn't have to be hard, but you do have to think about it. Salt is in many foods, so limiting your salt intake means more than just not using the salt shaker. Packaged (processed) foods and restaurant foods are usually quite high in salt.

Click here to view an Actionset. Healthy Eating: Eating Less Sodium
Click here to view an Actionset. Low-Salt Diets: Eating Out

You may want to visit with a registered dietitian to help you get started or find more ways to cut down on salt and eat a healthy diet.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
Last Revised April 11, 2012

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