December 14, 2007, Newsletter Issue #132: Diabetes Insipidus

Tip of the Week

Diabetes Insipidus is actually not a sugar-diabetes, like Type I and Type II, but is actually "water diabetes," referring to the patient needing to urinate and take in copious amounts of fluids.

The primary cause of Diabetes Insipidus is an abnormality in the pituitary gland in the brain. The gland does not produce enough of the hormone, Vasopressin, which controls the outflow of urine from the kidneys. The deficiency causes the body to produce large quantities of very dilute urine, which then causes the patient to become thirsty to replenish the missing fluids. Additionally, DI may be hereditary, can be caused by kidney malfunction, may be a result of compulsive obsessive water drinking and, in some cases, no specific cause can be found. This is called "idiopathic DI."

The key symptoms of Diabetes Insipidus are:

* excessive thirst
* excessive, copious urination
* nocturia - needing to urinate at night
* bedwetting, due to being unable to
make it to the bathroom in time
* very pale or transparent urine

Treatment varies depending on the cause. If caused by a hormonal deficiency, it can be controlled by replacing the missing hormone. If kidneys are the key, sometimes identifying and treating the kidney disease or malfunction, can cure the DI.

Sadly, DI related to compulsive excessive drinking, heredity or from an unknown cause, has no effective treatment, and the focus is on trying to balance fluid intake with urine output through behavioral interventions and close monitoring.

If you have Diabetes Insipidus, as with other types of diabetes, wear a Medic-Alert device to let medical professionals know of your condition, in the event of an emergency.

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