The word diabetes rings in a bell of caution…. restrict carbohydrates, restrict sugar. But this diabetes needs no such restrictions. Surprised?? Don’t be…
Diabetes insipidus shares its first name and few symptoms with diabetes mellitus. It is a rare condition in which kidneys are unable to conserve water as they form urine. The process of urine formation is complex and requires the activity of a few hormones. ADH (anti-diuretic hormone) is most important of these hormones. It is either due to poor production of ADH by the body or due to failure of kidneys to respond to ADH that this condition arises.
Causes of ADH deficiency: A head injury, infection, surgery or tumour of the pituitary (gland which produces ADH). DI can also be caused by certain medications, high levels of calcium in the body or polycystic kidney disease.
The symptoms include excessive thirst which may be uncontrollable and excessive urine formation. Unlike diabetes mellitus no sugar or albumin is excreted in urine thus giving it the name insipidus (bland).
Diabetes insipidus can be detected in a person by performing a few tests like MRI of head, urine test, urine output, etc. To treat the condition it is important to gauge the underlying cause which should be treated if possible. E.g. in case of deficiency of ADH, supplementation can be an option or if DI is caused by medication, stopping the medication may help restore normal kidney function. It is very important to drink enough fluids to match urine output and certain medications can be administered, by the healthcare provider, that lower urine output.
The disease does not cause severe problems or does not reduce life expectancy. However, not drinking enough fluids can lead to complications like dehydration, dry skin, rapid heart rate, sunken eyes, unexplained weight loss, electrolyte (sodium, potassium, chloride) imbalance, tiredness and irritability.
It is really a matter of concern if you develop symptoms of diabetes insipidus. Be prompt in getting it diagnosed and take care of your fluid and electrolyte intake.