What is diabetes insipidus?
The rare condition that causes an imbalance of fluids in the body is referred to as Diabetes Insipidus. The name ‘Insipidus’ comes from the insipid i.e. odourless and dilute urine that’s passed in this disorder. This imbalance leads to kidneys producing and passing too much urine and their inability to conserve water. This condition is found more commonly in adults but can occur at any age and is usually lifelong.
There are four types of Diabetes Insipidus:
- Central: This is caused due to an impacted pituitary gland leading to low levels of the hormone vasopressin’s production. This hormone is responsible for controlling the removal of bodily fluids mainly through urination.
- Nephrogenic: This condition occurs when the kidneys stop responding to vasopressin and continue to expel large amounts of urine.
- Dispogenic: This occurs when a person’s hypothalamus gets impacted leading to excessive thirst that in turn suppresses the secretion of vasopressin resulting in excessive urine production.
- Gestational: This type affects only pregnant women when an enzyme produced by the placenta impacts vasopressin. This may also occur when a pregnant woman’s body produces excessive prostaglandin that reduces the ability of the kidneys to respond to vasopressin.
Diabetes Insipidus symptoms:
Diabetes Insipidus symptoms vary depending on the severity of the condition and the patient’s age. The most common signs and symptoms of Diabetes Insipidus include:
- Bed-wetting, delayed growth, weight loss, fever, vomiting, etc. occurring especially in children.
- Frequent production of large amounts of urine.
- Frequent urges to urinate at night.
- Extreme thirst and preference for cold water/ cooler drinks.
While quite a few of us may experience milder versions of these symptoms from time to time but when these start occurring frequently and last for as long as 3 months, it is recommended to consult an endocrinologist to avoid letting this become a larger problem.
Who is at risk?
Risk factors of Diabetes Insipidus increase the chances of a person acquiring this disorder more than other people. Some of the most common reasons include:
- Genetic causes that pass this condition from the mother to the child.
- Studies show that it affects males more than females.
- People who consume excessive quantities of water.
Diabetes Insipidus causes:
Several factors contribute to this condition. Some of the most common causes of Diabetes Insipidus include:
- When the production and secretion of the antidiuretic hormone vasopressin is impacted due to a severe head injury, brain tumor, or any other complications of the pituitary gland during surgery, etc.
- Any immune system-related disorders that affect the healthy cells responsible for producing vasopressin.
- Issues like meningitis, stroke, cancers, etc. affecting the brain.
- Wolfram syndrome that causes Diabetes Insipidus in childhood.
- Other genetic disorders.
- Long-term use of lithium that’s used to treat bipolar disorder.
- Too much calcium in the blood (Hypocalcaemia).
- Lack of potassium in the blood (Hypokalemia).
- Kidney infections like Pyelonephritis.
How is Diabetes Insipidus diagnosed?
Diabetes Insipidus diagnosis is done through a combination of tests that include:
- Water deprivation test: This is the most common Diabetes Insipidus test in which the patient is asked to stop drinking fluids for measuring the changes in the body weight, urine output, and the changes in the levels of vasopressin.
- Genetic screening: This is done to look for any hidden cases of Diabetes Insipidus in your family.
- MRI: This test is done to look for issues with the pituitary gland and its surrounding areas.
How is Diabetes Insipidus treated?
Diabetes Insipidus treatment options depend on its type that affects you. Some of the most common treatments include:
- Central: This type is treated with a man-made antidiuretic hormone known as desmopressin (DDAVP) to replace the missing vasopressin.
- Nephrogenic: The doctor may prescribe a low salt diet to reduce the amount of urine produced naturally. The doctor may also include some Diabetes Insipidus medications to improve the symptoms.
- Gestational: This type is also treated with desmopressin.
- Dispogenic: There is no specific treatment for this type other than reducing the fluid intake.
- Other lines of treatment include oral or intravenous fluid replacement and treatment of other underlying conditions like kidney diseases or psychological illnesses.
Diabetes Insipidus can be a challenging and discomforting condition to have as it can cause physical issues and social anxiety. Losing too much fluid can also have serious dehydration consequences if left untreated. While there is no known Diabetes Insipidus cure, this condition can be effectively managed by reaching out to experienced doctors through Care.fit. You can manage your appointments and consultations online from the comfort of your house by logging on to our website or downloading the mobile app.
How can Diabetes Insipidus be prevented?
There is no one specific way for Diabetes Insipidus prevention. Some lifestyle changes and preventive measure like these may help:
- Monitoring the urine output.
- Checking for any signs of dehydration.
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle through exercising and better nutrition.
- Opting for a low salt diet.