Diabetes insipidus is a fairly rare condition, with symptoms of always feeling thirsty and at the same time often urinating in very large quantities. If very severe, the sufferer can excrete as much as 20 liters of urine in a day.
Diabetes insipidus is different from diabetes mellitus. Diabetes mellitus is a long-term disease characterized by blood sugar levels above normal. Diabetes insipidus, on the other hand, is not related to blood sugar levels.
Causes of Diabetes Insipidus
The occurrence of diabetes insipidus is caused by a disturbance in the antidiuretic hormone (ADH) which regulates the amount of fluid in the body. This hormone is produced by the hypothalamus, a special tissue in the brain. This hormone is stored by the pituitary gland after being produced by the hypothalamus.
The pituitary gland will secrete this antidiuretic hormone when the water level in the body is too low. ‘Antidiuretic’ means the opposite of ‘diuresis’. ‘Diuresis’ itself means the production of urine. This antidiuretic hormone helps retain water in the body by reducing the amount of fluid that is wasted through the kidneys in the form of urine.
What causes diabetes insipidus is reduced production of antidiuretic hormone or when the kidneys no longer respond normally to antidiuretic hormone. As a result, the kidneys excrete too much fluid and cannot produce concentrated urine. People who experience this condition will always feel thirsty and drink more because they are trying to compensate for the amount of fluid lost.
Diabetes insipidus itself is divided into two main types, namely:
- Cranial diabetes insipidus. This type of diabetes insipidus is the most common. Because the body does not have enough antidiuretic hormone from the hypothalamus. This condition can be caused by damage to the hypothalamus or to the pituitary gland. The damage can be caused by infection, surgery, brain injury, or a brain tumor.
- Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus. This type of diabetes insipidus occurs when the body has enough antidiuretic hormone to regulate urine production, but the kidneys don’t respond to it. This condition may be caused by impaired kidney function or as a hereditary condition. Some medications used to treat mental illness, such as lithium, can also cause this type of diabetes insipidus.
If you experience symptoms of diabetes insipidus, such as always feeling thirsty and urinating more than usual, you should see a doctor immediately. You may not have diabetes insipidus, but it would be better to know the cause.
Adults urinate 4-7 times a day, while young children do it up to 10 times a day. This is because children’s bladders are smaller. The doctor will perform several tests to determine the exact cause and diagnosis of the condition.
Diabetes Insipidus Treatment
In cranial diabetes insipidus, treatment may not be necessary in mild cases. To compensate for the amount of fluid wasted, you need to consume more water. There is a drug that works to mimic the role of the antidiuretic hormone called desmopressin. If necessary, you can take this drug.
While in nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, the drug used to treat it is a thiazide diuretic. This drug works to reduce the amount of urine produced by the kidneys.
Complications of Diabetes Insipidus
Low amount of water or fluids in the body is called dehydration. This is one of the complications caused by diabetes insipidus. If the dehydration that occurs is quite mild, you can drink ORS to overcome it. However, hospitalization will be required if the dehydration is severe enough.