Diabetes insipidus (DI), also called water diabetes, is an uncommon but manageable condition in which the body produces excess urine and cannot retain water properly. Diabetes insipidus can be life-long or temporary and mild or extreme relying on the underlying cause.
Extreme thirst and excessive urination are two symptoms of Diabetes insipidus. DI is caused due to a problem with a hormone called antidiuretic hormone (ADH, or vasopressin). The body doesn’t adequately produce ADH or the kidneys don’t utilize it correctly.
In severe cases, a person may excrete up to 30 liters of urine daily. If left untreated, diabetes insipidus can result in dehydration and, eventually, coma due to the high concentration of salts in the blood, especially sodium. Generally, DI does not cause major problems, and patients may control the condition by maintaining a healthy hydration level in their body.
This can be more challenging for those who may have trouble managing their thirst, like newborns or older adults. These people may experience serious consequences, such as confusion, seizures or brain trauma.
Insipidus has two basic categories, which are as follows:
- Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus
- Central diabetes insipidus
The most common symptoms of Diabetes Insipidus in adults are:
- Extreme undying thirst (polydipsia)
- Frequent urination (polyuria)
- Nocturia – waking up frequently at night to urinate
- Dry skin
- Weak muscles
In infants and small children the symptoms are:
- Crying uncontrollably
- Trouble sleeping
- Weight loss
- Delayed growth