While the name Diabetes Insipidus sounds like a complication that arises out of diabetes, it has nothing to do with type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus that involves high blood sugar levels. Instead, diabetes insipidus is a completely different and rare condition that only shares the first word in the name and a few of the symptoms as Diabetes Mellitus.
Quick Fact: Thirst and frequent urination are the most common symptoms between the two conditions. When you have Diabetes Mellitus, your body tries to get rid of excess glucose from the blood through frequent urination, making you thirsty. Diabetes Insipidus makes you thirsty because the body is losing too much fluid through frequent urination.
So what is diabetes Insipidus?
Diabetes insipidus is a pituitary gland disorder that results in the deficiency of a hormone called antidiuretic hormone (ADH) or ‘vasopressin’. The brain’s hypothalamus produces vasopressin which is then stored in the pituitary gland. The hormone’s main function is the regulation of excess fluids being lost through urination by prompting the kidneys to retain water. In people who have diabetes Insipidus, there is very little or almost no vasopressin released by the pituitary. It causes the kidneys to lose control of the amount of fluid lost, leading to excess urine production.
Quick Fact: A normal person produces 800 ml to 2 litres of urine a day, while a person with diabetes insipidus can produce between 3 litres to 18 litres of urine a day!
What are diabetes insipidus causes?
Various factors cause this metabolic disorder. Here is the classification of diabetes Insipidus based on the causal factors:
- Central Diabetes Insipidus
This is caused by damage to the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland from various causes such as:
- Damage from a surgery
- Head injury or trauma
- Infection and subsequent inflammation of brain tissue
- Genetic factors
Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus
This condition relates to improper functioning of the kidneys. It occurs when the kidneys stop responding to the hormone vasopressin leading to the uncontrolled production of urine. There are several reasons why the kidneys become unresponsive to the hormone:
- Genetic disorders
- Renal infections
- Chronic kidney disease
- Decreased levels of potassium in the blood
- Usage of certain antiviral drugs or drugs like lithium
Gestational Diabetes Insipidus
This type of diabetes insipidus only affects pregnant women. A hormone synthesized by the placenta destroys vasopressin. It leads to the kidneys producing urine uncontrollably and excessive loss of fluids from the body.
- Psychogenic Polydipsia
This condition is caused by drinking excessive water because of abnormal thirst caused by a number of psychological illnesses. While the production of vasopressin in these people is normal, the excess intake of water or fluids can damage the kidneys in the long run. It can also suppress the function of vasopressin in the long run leading to uncontrolled urine production.
What are the symptoms of diabetes insipidus?
These are the common symptoms of diabetes Insipidus:
- Greatly increased frequency of urination
- Excessive thirst
- General weakness or fatigue
- Dryness in the skin and throat
- Sudden/unexplained weight loss
- Dizziness and fainting
- Loss of consciousness
- Sleep disturbances
Note: Children who have the condition show irritability, vomiting, constant crying, diarrhoea and developmental delays.
How is diabetes insipidus treated?
The diabetes insipidus treatment involves a number of methods aimed at reducing urine output.
- Fluid replacement
In the case of excessive urination, fluids have to be replaced either orally or intravenously.
Synthetic hormones such as Desmopressin are used to treat those who lack vasopressin hormone in the pituitary. The hormones, which can be taken in the form of a pill or injection, or a spray, work by regulating the kidneys. Other medications used to decrease the urine produced include a combination of diuretics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Modifications to diet
Diet changes are recommended to reduce the loss of fluids through excessive urination in patients with kidney-related disorders. The recommendations involve foods containing lower amounts of sodium and low protein and the intake of plenty of water.
Other underlying factors such as psychological illnesses or chronic kidney diseases will also be treated if they are related to Diabetes Insipidus.
How can you prevent diabetes insipidus? ++++
There is no precise way to prevent the condition. However, its serious complications can be managed through preventive measures such as:
- Regularly monitoring yourself for signs of dehydration.
- If you have brain tumours or kidney diseases, it is essential to monitor your urine output for abnormalities.
- Switching to a low-salt diet.
- Regular physical activity to maintain good health.
Diabetes Insipidus is a condition completely unrelated to Diabetes Mellitus, however, they share a few common symptoms such as excessive thirst, frequent urination and dehydration. While there is no way to prevent the condition exactly, it can be managed through medication and lifestyle changes. If you have Diabetes Mellitus, then there is good news! By healing your damaged metabolism it is possible to reverse the condition. The Whole Body Digital Twin technology by Twin Health learns your body’s unique patterns to create precisely tailored treatments to reverse diabetes. Request for a free consultation to learn more from our team of specialists!