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Diabetes Insipidus Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Do not confuse diabetes insipidus with diabetes mellitus the most common form of diabetes although they have common symptoms like excessive thirst and excessive urination. Even physicians are likely to suspect that a person with diabetes insipidus has diabetes mellitus and therefore it's all the more important not to confuse between the two illnesses.

Diabetes Insipidus is distinctly different from Diabetes Mellitus, with the latter being more common. A major symptom that is common for both diseases is the frequent urge to urinate. However it is very important to know that the treatment regimen for diabetes insipidus is very much different from that of the more common diabetes mellitus.


Diabetes Insipidus is a rare disorder that arises due to inadequate quantities of Vasopressin (also called antidiuretic hormone ADH that is manufactured by the hypothalamus and dispensed in the body by the posterior pituitary gland).

Human body relies on the anti-diuretic hormone ADH to regulate fluid retention in the body. In a situation where the human body is water deficient, the hypothalamus instructs the pituitary gland to release ADH. ADH in turn stops urination and therefore further water loss. On the other hand in a situation where the human body is water surplus no ADH gets released, and this leads to more urine flowing out of the body. However a problem arises when the pituitary hypothalamus contracts a disease such as inflammation, tumor or even injury, in which case the production and release of ADH malfunctions. That situation causes diabetes insipidus. Apart from inflammation of the pituitary hypothalamus the underlying cause of Diabetes insipidus could be tumor or growth, menegitis, head injury, or kidney malfunction.

A variant of Diabetes Insipidus is nephrogenic diabetes insipidus which is a condition that arises when the kidneys fail to respond to ADH.


When a person suffers from diabetes insipidus he is likely to pass as much fluid as he or she drinks. In other words, there is no hormonal activity to stop urine output, resulting in dehydration if there is no replacement for the fluid leaving the body.

If dehydration sets in the human body, you are likely to get confused and incapable of making rational decisions with increased possibility of getting into accidents. However if the body is well hydrated it keeps you alert. But if the water or juice or any liquids you take doesn't get absorbed by the kidneys and just leaves your body straight away, the result is a combination of screaming bladder waiting to be emptied and insatiable thirst waiting to be quenched . You are then suffering from diabetes insipidus and no matter whatsoever quantity of water you drink, you still keep getting dehydrated.

In some cases if you were to get pinched, your skin would not bounce back immediately due to paucity of moisture but on the contrary most likely extend in a tent like form.

The only good news about diabetes insipidus is it does not cause life threatening problems like diabetic coma, but otherwise it would be very discomforting to have this illness.


Although men and women are equally susceptible to diabetes insipidus, the prognosis is good in the event of proper diagnosis and treatment. However preventing the incidence of diabetes insipidus is not possible.

Firstly a diagnosis of diabetes insipidus is done by conducting urine analysis and fluid deprivation tests. Urine analysis of a person suffering from diabetes insipidus shows high water excretion with low salt and waste concentrations. In other words, the number of particles in a kilogram of water or the specific gravity of urine determines the concentration of urine. A fluid deprivation test will show if your diabetes insipidus is caused by excessive intake of fluid, a defective kidney or due to defective ADH production.

How is diabetes insipidus treated? Synthetic Vasopressin or ADH by way of pill, injection or nasal spray is given to the patient, and this may be needed throughout the lifetime of the person. But if surgery is the cause of diabetes insipidus then it's possible to discontinue treatment after the diabetic condition is overcome.

If a patient suffers from nephrogenic diabetes insipidus he or she may not respond to ADH treatment. In such instances certain diuretics along with low salt diet is prescribed.

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