Diabetes Insipidus

Diabetes insipidus facts*

*Diabetes insipidus facts Medically Edited by:

  • Diabetes insipidus is not related to diabetes mellitus (type 1 and type 2 diabetes).
  • Diabetes insipidus is caused by problems related to the hormone antidiuretic hormone (ADH) or its receptor and causes frequent urination.
  • There are four types of diabetes insipidus; 1) central diabetes insipidus, 2) nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, 3) dipsogenic diabetes insipidus, and 4) gestational diabetes insipidus.
  • The most common symptom of diabetes insipidus is frequent urination.
  • The diagnosis for diabetes insipidus is based on a series of tests (for example, urinalysis and fluid deprivation test).
  • The treatment for diabetes insipidus depends on the type of diabetes insipidus.
  • Diabetes can lead to chronic kidney disease.
  • Diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure in the US.

What is diabetes insipidus, and what are the symptoms of the condition?

Diabetes insipidus (DI) is a rare disease that causes frequent urination. The large volume of urine is diluted, mostly water. To make up for lost water, a person with diabetes insipidus may feel the need to drink large amounts and is likely to urinate frequently, even at night, which can disrupt sleep and, on occasion, cause bedwetting. Because of the excretion of abnormally large volumes of dilute urine, people with diabetes insipidus may quickly become dehydrated if they do not drink enough water. Children with diabetes insipidus may be irritable or listless and may have fever, vomiting, or diarrhea. Milder forms of diabetes insipidus can be managed by drinking enough water, usually between 2 and 2.5 liters a day. Diabetes insipidus severe enough to endanger a person's health is rare.


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Diabetes Insipidus Definition

Excessive urination and extreme thirst as a result of inadequate output of the pituitary hormone ADH (antidiuretic hormone, also called vasopressin) or the lack of the normal response by the kidney to ADH.

There are two types of diabetes insipidus -- central and nephrogenic. Central diabetes insipidus is a lack of ADH production and is due to damage to the pituitary gland or hypothalamus where ADH is produced. Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus is lack of response of the kidney to the fluid-conserving action of ADH. Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus can be due to diseases of the kidney (such as polycystic kidney disease), certain drugs (such as lithium), and can also occur an inherited disorder.

In both central and nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, patients excrete extraordinarily large volumes of very dilute urine. They feel thirsty and drink very large amounts of water to compensate for the water they lose in the urine. The main danger with diabetes insipidus comes when fluid intake does not keep pace with urine output, resulting in dehydration and high blood sodium.


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