Everyone knows that diabetes is a health problem that involves high levels of sugar or glucose in the blood. But have you already heard of what’s called diabetes insipidus? Despite of its name, it is a completely different medical condition. It’s not even related to diabetes that you’re familiar with.
Keep on reading if you want to learn some of the most important things you need to know about diabetes insipidus, such as its cause, types, signs and symptoms, and treatment.
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In diabetes that everyone’s familiar with, the cause is either the body isn’t producing enough insulin or the cells are no longer responding to insulin, and that’s why the levels of sugar in the blood remain high.
It’s an entirely different story when it comes to diabetes insipidus because the body produces enough insulin and the cells respond to it properly, too. This only means that the blood sugar remains normal. The reason why diabetes insipidus strikes is because the body does not have enough of what’s called antidiuretic hormone. This hormone is something that controls the amount of water that is removed from the body by means of the kidneys.
Your antidiuretic hormone is produced by special cells in a part of your brain called hypothalamus. Then it is stored in the pituitary gland, also situated in your brain, until such time that it’s needed to decrease urination and maintain normal fluid levels in the body. The more antidiuretic hormone you have in your bloodstream, the less water you lose.
However, it’s not all the time that the cause of diabetes insipidus is insufficient antidiuretic hormone in the body. This is the reason why there are two types of it, the other being due to a different issue. Let’s take a quick look at them:
Cranial diabetes insipidus
This is the most common form of diabetes insipidus, and it’s brought about by the inability of the body to produce enough antidiuretic hormone. As a result, the kidneys are constantly producing urine.
Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus
In this type of diabetes insipidus, the body is producing enough antidiuretic hormone. But for some reason, the kidneys are not responding to it properly. At times it’s due to kidney damage, but in some instances it’s inherited.
Signs and Symptoms
Even though diabetes insipidus is a completely different problem from diabetes that everyone knows, the two medical conditions have something in common, and that is both of them can cause increased urination and thirst.
According to health authorities, someone who is suffering from diabetes insipidus tends to urinate many times per day. A person who has a severe case of diabetes insipidus may even pass up to 20 liters of urine per day. That’s really a lot considering the fact that the normal amount of urine a person produces per day is around 2 liters only.
Because of increased urination, someone who has diabetes insipidus feels thirsty all the time, which is a sign that the body is dehydrated. No matter how much water the person drinks, diabetes insipidus can leave him or her still feeling thirsty.
Mild cases of cranial diabetes insipidus usually require no treatment. The solution for it is drinking plenty of water in order to fend off dehydration. If necessary, a doctor may prescribe a drug that tends to mimic the task of your antidiuretic hormone.
On the other hand, nephrogenic diabetes insipidus is often treated with medications in order to regulate the amount of urine the kidneys produce.