If you have been wondering what diabetes insipidus is, here are all your questions explained. Diabetes insipidus is not a form of diabetes, but is a rare condition where a person suffers from frequent urination and increased thirst. It’s called as diabetes insipidus because its symptoms are similar to that of diabetes. The condition is caused by inadequate output of vasopressin, the antidiuretic hormone or ADH, by the pituitary gland. It can also be caused by a lack of usual response by the kidney to ADH. The condition is less common than diabetes mellitus (type 1 and type 2) that result from insulin deficiency.
Types of Diabetes Insipidus
- Central diabetes insipidus is caused due to damage to the pituitary gland that results in inadequate or total lack of output of antidiuretic hormone.
- Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus is caused when the kidney is not able to respond to ADH.
- Dipsogenic diabetes insipidus is caused due to a defect in the thirst mechanism, located in the hypothalamus (a portion of the brain). This form of diabetes insipidus may be confused with central diabetes insipidus.
- Gestational diabetes insipidusu occurs only during pregnancy and is caused when an enzyme, named oxytocinase (P-LAP), released by the placenta affects the ADH.
Symptoms of Diabetes Insipidus
The main symptoms of diabetes insipidus are excessive urination and excessive thirst. The volume of urine passed out through the day can be anywhere between 3 to 20 liters. In some severe cases, it can go up to 30 liters. Secondary symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea due to dehydration, waking up frequently in the middle of the night to urinate, dry skin, weak muscles and constant fatigue.
How Is Diabetes Insipidus Diagnosed?
Since diabetes insipidus has symptoms like that of diabetes, special tests are needed for its diagnosis. Fluid deprivation test and monitoring of ADH levels in the blood are some ways to diagnose diabetes insipidus. Other tests include a urine analysis test, MRI tests of the brain to detect issues in the pituitary gland, and genetic screening for those who have a family history of diabetes insipidus.
Managing Diabetes Insipidus
One of the natural ways of managing diabetes insipidus are to follow a low salt and low protein diet. Salt increases thirst and protein foods increase urination. Also, it is advisable to include more water-based foods such as cucumbers, zucchini, and strawberries to ensure water going out through frequent urination is replaced.