Unlike diabetes mellitus, diabetes insipidus is not a very common disease or disorder, though many symptoms in both of the cases may look similar. In diabetes insipidus, kidneys do not conserve water while filtering blood, leading to symptoms like increased urination and extreme thirst. Patients feel the urge to urinate frequently, day and night, and it may even cause bedwetting or involuntary urination during sleep.
If the patients do not take plenty of fluids, they may experience dehydration. Due to the increase in volume, the color of urine will normally be colorless, watery or pale in appearance, while the specific gravity or 'osmolality' will be low. Whereas diabetes mellitus is commonly called 'sugar' diabetes, diabetes insipidus is commonly referred as 'water' diabetes.
When we try to pinpoint the possible symptoms of diabetes insipidus, or DI, we can find the following symptoms appearing in most of the patients suffering from this disease -
1. Increased thirst (if an adult drinks over 12 normal size glasses (144 oz) of fluid in a day, it indicates 'increased thirst').
2. Increased urination (if an adult urinates more than 50mL/kg body weight, in every two hours' time, it indicates 'increased urination').
3. Waking up at night to urinate.
Other possible symptoms
1. Irritability (in children)
2. Fever (in children)
3. Diarrhea or vomiting (in children)
Let us go into further details of diabetes insipidus and have a look on the different types of this disorder. Treatment of each type differs from the other, as the causes are -
Pituitary Diabetes Insipidus - When the posterior or back part of the pituitary gland, which produces vasopressin, gets damaged, we get this type of diabetes. The damage to the pituitary gland can be caused by head injuries, infiltrations, infections, tumors, and due to some inheritable defects.
Neurogenic Diabetes Insipidus - In a large number of cases the underlying causes for the onset of pituitary diabetes insipidus cannot be found out even after magnetic resonance imaging, MRI, of the brain. This type of diabetes is, so far, considered incurable, just the symptoms can be controlled by treating with various drugs. As precautionary measures, since diabetes insipidus may affect other pituitary hormones, the patients have to undergo some tests and treatment of the potential abnormalities if needed.
Gestagenic Diabetes Insipidus - Sometimes women suffer from this disorder. During pregnancy, if the pituitary gland gets damaged, and if the placenta destroys the hormone too rapidly, the onset of gestagenic diabetes insipidus can be noticed in some casses. With appropriate treatment, this disorder can be treated and patient can recover in 4 to 6 weeks after delivery.
Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus - If the kidneys are unable to respond to the anti-diuretic effect of normal amounts of vasopressin, the onset of nephrogenic diabetes insipidus becomes possible. Kidney diseases, heritable genetic defects, and some drugs can cause this disorder. So far, treatment of nephrogenic diabetes insipidus is not guaranteed.
Dipsogenic Diabetes Insipidus - This disorder can be caused by some kind of abnormality in that part of brain which regulates thirst. The treatment does not completely eliminate the urge to drink water; however, frequent urination can be controlled. Such a condition can result in water intoxication and the patient may have headache, lethargy and nausea, loss of appetite, etc. So far, there is no satisfactory treatment of Dipsogenic diabetes insipidus, though some symptoms can be relived by some medication.
If you suspect any of the symptoms associated with diabetes insipidus, do not neglect and consult your doctor. Addressing such issues in time can save you lot of complications. Your doctor can advise you relevant tests to determine the causes and can approach the complaint in a proper way, helping you control the disease in time.