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Diabetes Insipidus

Diabetes Insipidus

This is a rare disorder where the system used by the body to regulate water levels becomes disrupted. Diabetes Insipidus is characterized by intense thirst, despite drinking fluids, and excretion of large amounts of urine. In most cases, this is the result of one's body not properly producing, releasing or storing a key antidiuretic hormone (vasopressin). Diabetes Insipidus can also occur when one's kidneys are unstable to respond to that hormone properly.

What are the symptoms of Diabetes Insipidus?

The most common symptoms of Diabetes Insipidus are extreme thirst and excretion of an excessive amount of diluted urine (up to 20 litres a day). These are accompanied by a feeling of being unwell due to an increase need to use the bathroom making one always feel thirst; sleeping patterns and daily activities may be disrupted as a result. In children and infants, the symptoms of Diabetes Insipidus include bed-wetting, loss of appetite, feeling tired all the time, delayed growth and weight loss.

There are two types of Diabetes Insipidus:

Cranial Diabetes Insipidus occurs when the brain produces or releases a reduced amount of ADH (antidiuretic hormone). This may be caused by:

• Head injury
• Surgery to the brain -s around the region of the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus
• Malignant or benign tumours of the brain and pituitary gland
• Infections including meningitis and encephalitis

In Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus, ADH is released by the brain but the kidneys become resistant to the effects of this hormone. Causes include:

• Certain medication that one is taking becomes too high in the body particularly a medicine called lithium
• Chronic kidney diseases and persistent kidney failure
• Rarely, Nephrogenic diabetes Insipidus can be passed on through genes

If you find yourself feeling thirsty all the time, passing urine more than normal, contact your doctor. While it may not necessarily be a result of Diabetes Insipidus, it should be investigated!

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