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Diabetes Insipidus

Nov 2, 2007
Diabetes insipidus has been sometimes called "stupid diabetes" because, although it has the name, it doesn't have the life-threatening problems of diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes). Although you are not in risk for shock or diabetic coma, you are in for a very uncomfortable time. Diabetes insipidus doesn't go away on its own and does need medical attention...as soon as you get out of the bathroom. Please do not use this article as a substitution for a doctor's visit.

With diabetes insipidus, an important hormone with an incredibly unpronounceable name is suddenly ignored (or not made) by your body. This hormone, however, helps the body to absorb water from the kidneys and decrease your urine output. Since you are mostly made of water, it is important to be properly hydrated to keep alert and healthy. When your body is running low on water, it goes into dehydration pains in an attempt to force you to drink more water, fruit juice or herbal tea. However, since the kidneys can't absorb the water you are drinking, it just goes right out of you instead of to the rest of your body. This leaves you with an insatiable thirst and constantly screaming bladder. You might even wet the bed, no matter what your age. You won't be able to help it. And, sadly enough, you cannot drink enough water to satisfy your body. You could be drinking gallons of water a day and still become dehydrated.

Becoming dehydrated is very dangerous, as well as very painful. You become easily confused, can't make the simplest of decisions and will look to others like you are incredibly drunk. The odds of getting into accidents are really high when you are dehydrated. If someone pinches your hand and tells you to go to the hospital, just go. They have checked to see if your skin has enough moisture to bounce back immediately when pinched. If it still stays in a tent-like formation, then you are in big trouble.

DI should not be confused with diabetes mellitus, which results from insulin deficiency or resistance leading to high blood glucose. Diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus are unrelated, although they can have similar signs and symptoms, like excessive thirst and excessive urination.

Diabetes mellitus (DM) is far more common than DI and receives more news coverage. DM has two forms, referred to as type 1 diabetes (formerly called juvenile diabetes, or insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, or IDDM) and type 2 diabetes (formerly called adult-onset diabetes, or noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, or NIDDM). DI is a different form of illness altogether. Because DM is more common and because DM and DI have similar symptoms, a health care provider may suspect that a patient with DI has DM. But testing should make the diagnosis clear. Your physician must determine which type of DI is involved before proper treatment can begin. Diagnosis is based on a series of tests, including urinalysis and a fluid deprivation test.

Urinalysis is the physical and chemical examination of urine. The urine of a person with DI will be less concentrated. Therefore, the salt and waste concentrations are low, and the amount of water excreted is high. A physician evaluates the concentration of urine by measuring how many particles are in a kilogram of water (osmolality) or by comparing the weight of the urine to an equal volume of distilled water (specific gravity). A fluid deprivation test helps determine whether DI is caused by excessive intake of fluid, a defect in ADH production, or a defect in the kidneys' response to ADH. This test measures changes in body weight, urine output, and urine composition when fluids are withheld. Sometimes measuring blood levels of ADH during this test is also necessary.

Diabetes insipidus happens to men more than women; no one is entirely sure why. You could have diabetes insipidus because of a tumor or other growth which needs to be dealt with. You can even get it after seeming to recover from a serious illness like menegitis or a head injury. Other causes seemed to have included complications during pregnancy and a result of kidney malfunctions.
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