03 December 2010

We Need to Understand Diabetes Insipidus

I had heard the term some years ago, but never read anything about it, thinking it was diabetes related. It is not. Some of the symptoms, excessive thirst and urination, are similar, but that is where it ends. This also has it's own organization named Diabetes Insipidus Foundation. There are some cases of diabetes insipidus that doctors never diagnose or incorrectly diagnose.

Diabetes insipidus is a problem with possible triggers including kidney disorders, medication side effects, and/or damage to the brain or pituitary gland. Some mild cases do not need medication or treatment; however, the more serious cases require drugs to help the body produce or make better use of anti-diuretic hormones.

Diabetes insipidus (DI) is a condition in which the kidneys are incapable of conserving water as they perform their function of filtering blood. The amount of water conserved is controlled by the anti-diuretic hormone (ADH), also called vasopressin. This is produced in a region of the brain called the hypothalamus. It is then stored and released from the pituitary gland.

There are four types of DI. Central diabetes insipidus is usually caused by damage to the pituitary gland or hypothalamus. This can be the result of surgery, a tumor, an illness (meningitis for example), inflammation or a head injury. All of these can cause a disruption of normal production, storage, and release of ADH.

Nephrogenic DI happens when there is a defect in the kidney's tubules where the water is excreted or reabsorbed. The kidneys are therefore unable to properly respond to AHD and be due to an inherited (genetic) disorder or a chronic kidney disorder. The drugs such as lithium and tetracycline can also cause this.

Gestational DI as the name implies occurs only during pregnancy and when an enzyme made by the placenta destroys ADH in the mother.

Dipsogenic diabetes insipidus also known as primary polydipsia is in general caused by excessive fluid drinking that leads to suppression of ADH. This just amplifies the damage. Diseases like sarcoidosis or mental illness can cause this.

For information on the five tests that can be used to assist in diagnosis, please go to “Diagnostic Tests” here. Continue to explore the site starting here.

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