Diabetes insipidus is a condition that leads to excessive urine production and poor water retention in our bodies. This condition is not permanently curable, but it is treatable. It can be temporary, moderate, chronic, or severe. Diabetes insipidus is triggered mainly by a complication with a hormone known as antidiuretic hormone (ADH, or vasopressin). In this condition, our bodies do not produce enough ADH, or our kidneys do not process it properly.
Diabetes insipidus leads our body to produce up to 20 quarts of urine each day, compared to the average person’s one to three quarts. If we have this particular condition and do not consume enough fluids to balance the water losses through urination, we might get dehydrated, which harms our health.
Is diabetes insipidus the same as diabetes mellitus?
Diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus have symptoms, causes and treatments.
Diabetes mellitus is caused by an abnormally high quantity of glucose in our blood. By letting the additional glucose travel through the urine, our kidneys attempt to eliminate it. However, in diabetes insipidus, our blood sugar levels remain normal, but our kidneys cannot process urine appropriately.
We can often experience low sugar levels or hypoglycemia while suffering from diabetes. Our body can develop low sugar levels for many reasons, for instance, as a side effect of having diabetes for more than 5-10 years or if we take certain medications for high blood pressure, like beta blockers, etc.
What factors contribute to diabetes insipidus?
Diabetes insipidus is generally caused by an issue with ADH or vasopressin, which helps our kidneys control the quantity of fluid in our bodies. It can also be spurred by disorders in the portion of our brain that regulates thirst. The four subtypes of diabetes insipidus are as follows:
- Central Diabetes Insipidus: ADH is produced by our hypothalamus but is stored and released by our pituitary gland. If the pituitary gland or hypothalamus is damaged, it lacks adequate ADH and then causes this condition.
- Gestational Diabetes Insipidus: This temporary condition usually grows during pregnancy when the placenta that feeds our unborn baby produces an excessive amount of an enzyme that destroys our ADH.
- Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus: This kind of diabetes insipidus develops when our kidneys cannot hold water despite receiving sufficient ADH from the pituitary gland.
- Dipsogenic Diabetes Insipidus: We experience thirst and increase our fluid intake if we have this form of diabetes insipidus. Due to a disorder in our hypothalamus, this condition occurs. As a result, it increases urination.
What signs and symptoms indicate diabetes insipidus?
Few signs and symptoms of our body can indicate diabetes insipidus.
- Frequent need for urination
- Unquenchable thirst
- Passing pale urine during the day and night
We can also experience dehydration as a side effect of diabetes insipidus if it is not treated or if we stop taking adequate fluids. That can lead to a thirsty mouth, nausea, a sense of faintness or dizziness, etc.
Who has a higher chance of having diabetes insipidus?
We can develop diabetes insipidus at any age. The following circumstances can make us more likely to have this condition:
- If diabetes insipidus runs in our family
- If we use medications that might induce renal problems, such as certain bipolar disorders, NIH external link drugs and diuretics
- After a brain surgery or a serious head injury
- If we have consistent metabolic issues like low blood potassium levels or high blood calcium
How can diabetes insipidus be diagnosed?
There are several clinical ways to detect diabetes insipidus. They are as follows:
- Water deprivation test
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Blood tests
- Stimulation tests
When should we see a doctor?
It is essential to schedule routine appointments with the doctor if we have diabetes insipidus so they can check our condition and test to see if the medication is working. We should see a doctor immediately if we have any symptoms, like frequent urination, increased thirst, dry mouth, dizziness, fatigue, or extreme dehydration.
Diabetes insipidus affects many people globally. It is a rare and serious health disorder. It develops when our body’s fluid levels are imbalanced. Apart from increased thirst and frequent urination, the most serious consequence of diabetes insipidus is dehydration, which occurs when our body loses more electrolytes and fluids than it gains. However, the good news is we can manage this condition clinically. Also, with proper medication, we should drink as much water as needed to quench our thirst. We also need to avoid physical strain and prolonged exposure to heat to prevent dehydration.