Diabetes insipidus is a condition where water in the body is improperly removed from the circulatory system by the kidneys.
There are two forms of diabetes insipidus (DI): Central diabetes insipidus (central DI)Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus (NDI)
Antidiuretic hormone (ADH) controls the amount of water reabsorbed by the kidneys. ADH is made in the hypothalamus of the brain. The pituitary gland, at the base of the brain, stores and releases ADH.
Central DI occurs when the hypothalamus does not make enough ADH.
NDI occurs when the kidneys do not respond to ADH.
Some diabetes insipidus is casued by genetic problems that lead to central DI or NDI. Others may develop after an injury or illness.
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Factors that may increase your risk of diabetes insipidus include:
Damage to the hypothalamus or pituitary glands due to surgery, infection,
Certain conditions (such as
, granulomatosis with polyangiitis)
Certain medicines (such as lithium)—the most common cause of diabetes insipidus
Kidney disease (such as
polycystic kidney disease
Protein malnutritionCertain conditions (such as hypercalcemia, hypokalemia)
Symptoms may include: Increased urination, especially during the nightExtreme thirstDehydration
(fast heart rate, dry skin and mouth)
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam may be done.
Tests may include the following:
Electrolyte levelsKidney function testsADH levelsBlood sugar to look for diabetes mellitus
Urine specific gravity and/or osmolality (measures how concentrated or dilute the urine is)Urine volume tests to see how much urine is being produced
Water deprivation test
Only done under doctor supervisionUrine output is measured for a 24-hour periodMagnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
of the head—if central CDI is suspected
Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Your doctor will work with you to address the underlying cause.
Treatment may include: For central DI—taking a synthetic form of ADHFor NDI—following a low-sodium diet, drinking plenty of water, taking a diuretic (water pill)
There are no known ways to prevent diabetes insipidus. Talk to the doctor right away if you have excessive urination or thirst.
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Rivkees SA, Dunbar N, et al. The management of central diabetes insipidus in infancy: desmopressin, low renal solue load formula, thazide diuretics.
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Last reviewed September 2013 by Kim Carmichael, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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