are familiar with the most common types of diabetes related
to the body's processing of sugars. Few know about diabetes
insipidus or "water diabetes."
While the common forms of diabetes are
caused by insulin deficiency or resistance, this rare form of diabetes is caused by deficiency
or resistance to the antidiuretic hormone (ADH), also called vasopressin.
Vasopressin is produced by the hypothalamus,
a very small gland located in the base of the brain. After it is produced, the body stores
the ADH in the pituitary gland. ADH is released into the bloodstream when the amount of water
in the body needs to be increased.
filter your blood. They remove excess water and other elements
from your blood and return the filtered blood back to the
body. When ADH reaches the kidneys, it signals them to increase
the amount of water that they return to the bloodstream.
DI occurs when this precise system for
regulating the amount of fluids in the body is disrupted. Central Diabetes Insipidus, the
most common form of DI, results from damage to the pituitary gland. This disrupts the normal
storage and release of ADH.
Nephrogenic DI, results when the kidneys
lose their ability to respond to ADH. Rarer forms occur because of a defect in the thirst
mechanism (dipsogenic DI) or during pregnancy (gestational diabetes insipidus).
Even if untreated, DI is not normally
life threatening unless you get into a situation where you cannot get an adequate supply of
drinkable water. DI does cause abnormal thirst and frequent urination which can lead to depleting
nutrients that your body needs to function well.
Diet in this form of diabetes concentrates
on reducing or eliminating salt instead of sugar and starches with insulin
DI can be controlled by using drugs such as desmopressin which take the place of the ADH that the hypothalamus or pituitary gland is not releasing. This treatment will not help in Nephrogenic
DI since the kidneys will respond to this synthetic hormone
just as they cannot respond to the ADH. Diuretics such as
hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) and amiloride and anti-inflammatory
drugs such as indomethacin are often prescribed in this case.
about diabetes insipidus around the Web:
Around the Web, learn
more about the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of this uncommon
Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus Foundation - Access to the latest research through
journal articles and clinical trials combined with a good supply of information on low salt
and salt free diets for infants, kids and adults and plenty of leads for further information
for patients and professionals. Spanish version is available.
Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse - Diabetes Insipidus - From
the US government a solid fact sheet on Central DI, Nephrogenic DI, Dipsogenic DI and Gestational
DI with diagnostic tests and links to other resources.
Association of America - Diabetes Insipidus - Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH)
is a condition that may lead to DI. The site has sections on symptoms, diagnosis and treatment
plus related articles.
is intended as reference and not as medical advice.
All treatment decisions should be made by medical professionals.