Diabetes Insipidus (DI):
This type of Diabetes is often mistaken for Diabetes Mellitus because of the similarity of symptoms, but they are not related; in both cases sufferers urinate often and feel thirsty most of the time, even after drinking; the symptoms would include an excessive urine volume and an excessive thirst, which may be intense or uncontrollable and involve a craving for iced water.

DI is an uncommon condition that occurs when the kidneys are unable to conserve water as they perform their function of filtering blood; the amount of water conserved is controlled by an Antidiuretic Hormone (ADH), also called vasopressin.

ADH is a hormone produced in a region of the brain called the hypothalamus; it is then stored and released from the Pituitary Gland, a small gland at the base of the brain.

DI caused by a lack of ADH is called Central DI; Central DI can be caused by damage to the hypothalamus or pituitary gland as a result of an Head Injury, an Infection, a Loss of Blood Supply to the Pituitary Gland, Surgery or a Tumor; there is also a form of central DI that runs in families.

In some cases DI is caused by kidneys that do not concentrate the urine as well as they should, creating a more diluted urine than is normal and in other cases DI is caused by the Hypothalamus, which for some reason no longer produces enough Antidiuretic Hormone (ADH) , which the body needs to function properly.

DI caused by a failure of the kidneys to respond to ADH is called Nephrogenic DI; this involves a defect in the parts of the kidneys that reabsorb water back into the bloodstream; it occurs less often than central DI; Nephrogenic DI may occur as an inherited disorder in which male children receive the abnormal gene that causes the disease from their mothers; it may also be caused by certain drugs, such as Lithium, Amphotericin B and Demeclocycline; high levels of Calcium in the body, Hypercalcemia and Kidney Disease, such as Polycystic Kidney Disease.

Unlike Diabetes Mellitus, this type of Diabetes is not treated with Insulin; it is usually treated with an ADH medicine called Vasopressin, which is a Nonapeptide hormone, produced by the Posterior Pituitary; Vasopressin regulates the volume of Extracellular Fluid by affecting the renal handling of water; the cause of the underlying condition should be treated when possible.

If nephrogenic DI is caused by medication, for example, Lithium, stopping the medication may help restore normal kidney function; however, after many years of Lithium use, the Nephrogenic DI may be permanent.

Hereditary Nephrogenic DI and Lithium-Induced Nephrogenic DI are treated by drinking enough fluids to match urine output and with drugs that lower urine output; drugs used to treat Nephrogenic DI include, Anti Inflammatory medication, Indomethacin; Diuretics, Hydrochlorothiazide and Amiloride.

If treated in time, DI does not cause severe problems or reduce life expectancy; if thirst mechanisms are normal and you drink enough fluids, there are no significant effects on body fluid or salt balance; not drinking enough fluids however, can lead to the following Complications, Dehydration, Dry skin, Dry Mucus Membranes, Fever, Rapid Heart Rate, Sunken Appearance to Eyes, Sunken Fontanelles 'The Soft Spot' in infants, Unintentional Weight Loss, Electrolyte Imbalance, Fatigue, Lethargy, Headache, Irritability and Muscle Pains.

Diabetes Related Information Leaflets

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