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The use of a salt free diet for four or five days to aid in the diagnosis of Addison's disease in doubtful cases has recently been advocated. The precipitation by such a diet of a typical clinical crisis with accompanying changes in the chemistry of the blood is considered confirmatory. An adequate supply of potent cortical extract as well as intravenous salt solution must be kept on hand in the event of a severe crisis which appears to threaten life.
The following case is reported to show that the salt free diet may be a dangerous expedient, since sudden death may occur without the development of critical symptoms.
REPORT OF CASE
H. L., a man, aged 52, Austrian, complained of dyspnea and weakness for three and a half months. He had a chronic nonproductive cough, had lost 15 pounds (6.8 Kg.) during this period and had noted constipation
Lilienfeld A. THE USE OF THE LOW SALT DIET IN THE DIAGNOSIS OF ADDISON'S DISEASE. JAMA. 1938;110(11):804-805. doi:10.1001/jama.1938.62790110006008d