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Diabetes Insipidus Definition

Diabetes Insipidus is a very uncommon disorder which causes an imbalance of water in the body leading to excreting of large amounts of urine. This imbalance causes intense thirst even after drinking fluids.

While an average adult urinates about 3 litres a day, a person with Diabetes Insipidus can urinate up to 15 litres a day, depending on the severity of the condition.

Diabetes Insipidus Symptoms

The most common symptoms of Diabetes Insipidus in adults are:

  • Extreme undying thirst
  • Excretion of large amounts of urine
  • Nocturia – waking up frequently at night to urinate
  • Bed-wetting

In infants and small children, the symptoms of Diabetes Insipidus may include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Inconsolable crying
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Weight loss
  • Delayed growth

If you or your child have any/some/all of the above symptoms, seek medical attention promptly.

Diabetes Insipidus Risk Factors

In infants and small children, Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus (present at or shortly after birth) has a genetic cause that permanently alters the kidneys’ ability to concentrate urine. This affects mostly males.

Risk factors for Diabetes Insipidus may include

  • Dehydration – Dehydration is the most obvious sign which also in turn causes:
  • Weight loss
  • Headache
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Fever dry mouth
  • Low blood pressure
  • Elevated blood sodium
  • Changes in skin elasticity

Diabetes Insipidus may also cause electrolyte imbalance – an imbalance of minerals such as sodium and potassium. This in turn may cause:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea

Diabetes Insipidus Diagnosis

Since the signs of Diabetes Insipidus can be caused by other conditions as well, your doctor will first run a few tests to rule out any other possibilities. Once your doctor confirms the condition, he/she may run the following tests to confirm which type of Diabetes Insipidus you have, as the treatments vary for each type.

  • Water deprivation test
  • Magnetic resonance imaging or MRI
  • Urinalysis
  • Genetic Screening

Diabetes Insipidus Treatment

Treatment for Diabetes Insipidus depends on the type of Diabetes Insipidus you have. The most common forms of treatment for the condition include:

Central Diabetes Insipidus: This involves the intake of a synthetic hormone called Desmopressin which can be taken in the form of nasal spray, oral tablets or in the form of injection.

Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus: In such a condition, your doctor may recommend a low-salt diet to help reduce the amount of urine your kidneys make.

Gestational Diabetes Insipidus: This type of Diabetes Insipidus can also be normally treated by Desmopressin unless the condition is caused by an abnormality in the thirst mechanism.

Primary Polydipsia: The only way to manage this form of Diabetes Insipidus is by reducing the intake of fluids.

UPDATED ON 15/11/2023

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