Diabetes Insipidus: Cause, Types, symptoms & Complications

Diabetes insipidus is a term for any condition that causes your body to make a lot of urine and make you extra thirsty. This condition is nothing to do with high blood sugar.

Updated: July 24, 2020

Diabetes insipidus is a term for any condition that causes your body to make a lot of urine and make you extra thirsty.This condition is nothing to do with high blood sugar.


Cause of Diabetes Insipidus:

Diabetes insipidus occurs when your fluid regulation system doesn't work properly.

Antidiuretic hormone (ADH) also known as vasopressin is produced in hypothalamus, a part of human brain and is stored in your pituitary gland.It tells your kidneys to hold onto water, which makes your urine more concentrated. ADH levels rise When you are thirsty or slightly dehydrated. ADH is released into your bloodstream when your body starts to become dehydrated. ADH then concentrates the urine by triggering the kidney tubules to release water back into your bloodstream rather than excreting as much water into your urine. If this system is disrupted diabetes insipidus occurs.

Types of Diabetes Insipidus:

The way in which your system is disrupted determines which form of diabetes insipidus you have:


Central Diabetes Insipidus:

Central diabetes insipidus can be due to damage to the hypothalamus or pituitary gland or genetics.This damage disrupts the normal production, storage and release of ADH. The damage is commonly due to surgery, a tumor, an illness (such as meningitis), inflammation or a head injury.


Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus:

Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus occurs when the kidneys do not respond properly to vasopressin. The defect may be due to an inherited (genetic) disorder or a chronic kidney disorder.


Dipsogenic Diabetes Insipidus:

Dipsogenic DI primary polydipsia is due to abnormal thirst mechanisms in the hypothalamus results from excessive intake of fluids as opposed to deficiency of arginine vasopressin. It may be due to a defect or damage to the thirst mechanism, located in the hypothalamus or due to mental illness.


Pestational Diabetes Insipidus:

Gestational diabetes insipidus occurs only during pregnancy and the postpartum period. During pregnancy, women produce vasopressinase in the placenta, which breaks down ADH.


Symptoms of Diabetes Insipidus:

The symptoms for DI include excessive urination, extreme thirst and increased fluid intake especially for cold water.Extreme urination continues throughout the day and the night.

Infants and young children who have diabetes insipidus may have the following signs and symptoms:

  •     Diarrhea
  •     Unexplained fussiness or inconsolable crying
  •     Fever
  •     Trouble sleeping
  •     Vomiting
  •     Delayed growth
  •     Weight loss

As long as enough water is consumed to compensate the urinary losses, a person with DI remain healthy for decades. However, there is a continuous risk of dehydration and loss of potassium and other minerals in body that may lead to hypokalemia and other complications.


Complications of Diabetes Insipidus:

Dehydration:

With DI your body is unable to retain sufficient amount of water to function properly leading to dehydration. Dehydration can cause

  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Elevated blood sodium (hypernatremia)
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Weight loss
  • Dry mouth
  • Changes in skin elasticity

Severe dehydration can lead to seizures, permanent brain damage, and even death.


Electrolyte Imbalance:

Minerals such as Sodium and potassium in your body are the electrolytes. Diabetes insipidus can also cause an electrolyte imbalance resulting in

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


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