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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

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Experiencing ringing in ears, heart palpitations and chest tightness after eating salty food. What is the cure?

Answered by
Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 1778 Questions

Posted on Fri, 29 Nov 2013 in Medicines and Side Effects
Question: When I eat salty foods (300mg) my ears start ringing and I get heart palpitations along with tightness of the chest and some light pain across my upper back.
Answered by Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar 22 minutes later
Brief Answer: Salty foods are not linked to tinnitus Detailed Answer: Hi Though salty foods are not linked to ringing in the ears (tinnitus), physicians advise to reduce the salt when someone complains of ringing. It is believed that the inner ear hair cells swell up because of extra amount of fluid the cells hold because of excess sodium in the salt. In my opinion you should not consume salty food. When there is ringing there is obvious anxiety that can cause palpitations and tightness. Since you are a 66yr male with positive history of COPD and was a smoker, you should get your preventive checks done every 3 months with the local doctor. This is also the time.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Aparna Kohli
Follow up: Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar 21 hours later
Thanks for your response. I maintain a low sodium diet of less than 800mg/day. It's a real inconvenience. What I guess I want to know is why I am so sensitive to sodium. When I consume too much (maybe 400mg) and lie down, after a few minutes my nose is stuffy, have a mild headache, and of course my ears are ringing. Sometimes there are rapid white flashes when my eyes are closed and my urine stream is as if something is constricted internally. I feel a little out of breath and my heart is laboring as if I just ran a 50 yard dash. I feel very sick. Many of these symptoms go away in 20-30 minutes if I stay in an up-right position. The ringing and heart pounding last longer. My kidney and liver function tests have always been normal. Could it be my heart?
Answered by Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar 3 hours later
Brief Answer: ENT and Cardiac evaluation. Detailed Answer: Hi, I think 800mg/day is much for an individual. We recommend 3-5 gm/day salt after 50 yrs of age. You also should realize that most of the food that you eat contains mild to mod sodium level though the labels are not inscribed. So you should add that as well. Now I suggest you to get Audiometry, Epley's maneuvre (Positional tinnitus) by an ENT surgeon. There is a need to rule out heart disease as well if you are obese, eat more than 500mg/day salt, blood pressure recording as well. Thank you.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Aparna Kohli

The User accepted the expert's answer

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