Difference between Diabetes Mellitus and Diabetes Insipidus

What is diabetes insipidus?

Diabetes insipidus is a rare condition, where your body produces lots of urine that is ‘insipid’, in other words, colourless and odourless. An average human urinates 1-2 litres a day, on the other hand, people with diabetes insipidus urinate 3-20 litres a day. Basic symptoms of diabetes insipidus are 

  • Severe thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Dehydration
  • Preferring cold drinks
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle pain
  • Irritability

This condition is caused due to low production of vasopressin secreted by the hypothalamus. Vasopressin signals your kidney to hold on to water thus making your urine more concentrated. 

Types of diabetes insipidus are 

  • Central diabetes insipidus
  • Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus
  • Dipsogenic diabetes insipidus
  • Gestational diabetes insipidus

This condition is diagnosed by urinalysis, blood test, fluid deprivation test, MRI, genetic screening. The major complications of this condition are dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and less sleep. Diabetes insipidus doesn’t affect the kidney or its functions, it makes you more dehydrated. 

diabetes insipidus

Diabetes mellitus

Diabetes mellitus or commonly known as diabetes is the condition where your body doesn’t produce enough insulin to process the glucose in your blood resulting in an increased blood sugar level. Your body is composed of millions of cells and to make energy, these cells need food in the form of glucose. Glucose provides energy to these cells. Sugar reaches cells through blood and sugar cannot enter cells by itself, it requires the help of insulin produced by the pancreas and released into the blood. When sugar leaves the bloodstream and enters the cells, the blood sugar level is lowered and when insulin isn’t produced, sugar doesn’t leave the blood hence increasing the blood sugar level. 

Types of diabetes mellitus are 

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Gestational diabetes

The causes of diabetes are unknown,  but the risk of getting diabetes is high for people with a family history of diabetes or personal history of gestational diabetes, autoimmune disease, injury to the pancreas, old age and physical risk. Other risk factors that can be controlled in order to reduce the risk of getting diabetes are high blood pressure, smoking, abnormal blood cholesterol, being overweight and using steroids. The symptoms of diabetes mellitus are 

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased hunger
  • Dry mouth
  • Frequent urination
  • Sudden loss of weight
  • Feeling weak
  • Blurred vision
  • Numbness in the hand or feet
  • Slow healing cuts
  • Dry and itchy skin
  • Frequent yeast infection or urinary tract infection

Diabetes mellitus is diagnosed by conducting fasting sugar blood tests or conducting A1c blood tests also called glycated haemoglobin tests.  

types of diabetes

Diabetes insipidus vs Diabetes mellitus 

The only similarity between diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus is a few symptoms that are common for both conditions, other than that, both conditions are caused due to totally different reasons. These 2 conditions are in no way related to one another. They cause different problems to us and the treatment methodology used are different in both conditions. 

This condition is caused due to improper secretion of vasopressin by the hypothalamus which results in your kidney producing lots of urine than normal. Diabetes mellitus or more commonly known as diabetes is caused due to improper secretion of insulin by the pancreas resulting in increased blood sugar levels.
Normally, the kidney filters our bloodstream removing all the impurities and producing 2 quarts of urine per day, but when a person has diabetes insipidus, they produce 3 to 20 quarts of urine per day.  Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy.
When a person has diabetes insipidus, they feel very exhausted because of dehydration. When a person has diabetes mellitus, they feel exhausted when the blood sugar levels are too high or too low. 
A person suffering from diabetes insipidus feels thirsty because most of the fluid in their body is passed out. A person with diabetes feels thirsty because of too much glucose in your blood and in order to flush out the excess sugar from your body, your body wants you to drink more water.
A long period of dehydration leads to a blurred vision for people with diabetes insipidus In the case of diabetes mellitus, it’s because of the excess glucose in your blood. 
Diabetes insipidus is a very rare condition and only one in every 25000 people gets affected by this condition. Diabetes mellitus is a very common condition and surveys show that around 100 million Americans have this condition. 
To manage diabetes insipidus, doctors suggest taking synthetic hormones like desmopressin. To manage diabetes mellitus, it is advised to control your blood sugar level by changing your diet plans, regular exercise, reducing blood cholesterol level or using insulin shots. 

Thus to conclude, other than the word diabetes and a few common symptoms, there is no similarity between diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus. 


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