Diabetes insipidus: causes, symptoms and how to cure it

Most people have heard of type I and type II diabetes, but have you ever heard of diabetes insipidus? It is a rare form of the disease called water diabetes because it causes excessive thirst and urination.

Diabetes insipidus versus mellitus

Insipidus is a Latin word meaning “tasteless” because people with diabetes produce weak, odorless urine. In contrast, diabetes mellitus urine is high in sodium and has an oddly sweet smell. Although either form can be present in type 1 or 2 diabetes, they are not related.

Both diabetes insipidus and mellitus can cause constant thirst and frequent trips to the bathroom. If you have diabetes insipidus, your blood sugar levels are normally expected. However, your kidneys cannot balance body fluids.

In an article published by Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism , diabetes insipidus can be caused by defects in the kidneys or pituitary gland. By managing your symptoms effectively, you can minimize future health risks. One of the most important steps is to stay properly hydrated.

Diabetes insipidus 101

People with diabetes insipidus know the frustrations of the constant need to urinate. Running around the bathroom can disrupt daily activities and lead to sleepless nights. As the disease also causes excessive thirst, it is a chronic cycle of drinking and urinating.

This form of diabetes is related to other disorders marked by polydipsia, or constant thirst, and polyuria, regular urination. Your body produces a hormone called vasopressin, which helps balance your fluid intake and production. A break in vasopressin can cause the symptoms of diabetes insipidus.

Understand your body’s filtration system

The human kidney system is a complex system that filters up to 150 liters of blood a day. After filtration, you will have between one and two liters of waste to pass as urine. This liquid residue flows through two tubes called ureters to the bladder, where it will be emptied.

It is a delicate fluid balance between the entrance of thirst and the exit of urination. Although most liquid waste is eliminated in the form of urine, it also removes excess liquid through breathing, sweating, and occasional diarrhea.

The hormone essential for fluid balance is vasopressin, produced by the hypothalamus, a small gland at the base of the brain. It is then stored in your pituitary gland.

Whenever you need higher fluid levels, vasopressin is released into the bloodstream. It tells the kidney system to decrease fluid absorption and urinate less. If you drink a lot of fluid, you will have less vasopressin and you will urinate more.

Diabetes insipidus is related to an imbalance in vasopressin that leads to frequent urination. The more you urinate, the more signs of thirst in your body. This urine is usually odorless and diluted or tasteless.

Types of diabetes insipidus

There are four types of this disease. Although the symptoms are similar, they have different causes. You may have some of the risk factors for one, or you may have been diagnosed.

1. Central diabetes insipidus

This type is the most common form of diabetes insipidus and is also called neurogenic. It can occur in men, women and children at any age. It is caused by an imbalance of vasopressin. Any damage to the hypothalamus or pituitary gland can lead to inequality and consequent diabetic disease.

2. Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus

Unfortunately, sometimes the renal system does not respond correctly to vasopressin, resulting in this nephrogenic type. Instead of maintaining balance, the kidney system becomes overloaded and removes too much fluid from the bloodstream. If you have been diagnosed with nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, it is likely that you have inherited a genetic mutation. It is also predominantly in men.

However, genetics are not always the main cause. You can also develop the nephrogenic type due to low potassium levels, chronic kidney disease, high calcium levels, or blockage of the urinary tract. Even some medications can cause this, says an article published by Nephrology Seminars .

3. Dipogenic diabetes insipidus

This type is especially marked by excessive thirst and is sometimes called primary polydipsia. The hypothalamus controls the thirst mechanism and forces you to stay hydrated. A defect in this mechanism causes primary polydipsia, keeping the thirst unsatisfied.

As your body overflows with fluid, your kidney system chronically purges urine. The same conditions that cause the nephrogenic type can also cause primary polydipsia. This includes head injuries, brain tumors, inflammation, surgery and some medications.

4. Gestational diabetes insipidus

While pregnancy brings the joy of new life, it can also cause temporary health problems for the mother. Sometimes pregnancy hormones or placental enzymes can destroy vasopressin in the mother’s bloodstream. In other cases, enzymes make the renal system less sensitive to vasopressin, leading to gestational diabetes insipidus.

If you are a pregnant mother, you can have this type of pregnancy without any symptoms. Many women urinate frequently during pregnancy and don’t even think about it. The good news is that this type of diabetes insipidus usually disappears after the baby is born.

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Signs and symptoms of diabetes insipidus

The most notable signs and symptoms of this diabetic disease are chronic thirst and an excessive amount of dilute, odorless urine. It’s a red flag that your body isn’t balancing your fluids effectively. You drink too much fluid and too much urine.

According to an article published by MedLine Plus , an average person produces about 800-2000 milliliters per day with an average consumption of two liters. If you drink and urinate more than that, it could be a sign of diabetes insipidus. You can also combat urgent nighttime urination and possible bedwetting.

You may also notice signs and symptoms in your young children or babies. This can include sleep disturbance, irritability, fever, chronic crying, vomiting, digestive problems, and frequent urination.

Dangers of Insipid Diabetes

It seems counterintuitive that you would have a low fluid balance if you were drinking that much fluid. However, this form of diabetes causes you to constantly cut back on what you drink. One of the main concerns is dehydration, which can be fatal if left unchecked.

You will likely experience constant thirst, sluggishness, and exhaustion if you become dehydrated. Your skin may feel dry and itchy and you may feel dizzy, nauseated or confused. Extreme dehydration can cause seizures, brain damage and even death.

Diabetes insipidus can not only unbalance the body’s fluids, it can also unbalance the electrolytes. These are vital nutrients your body needs to function. Some of them include calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphate and chloride.

Most bodily fluids, such as blood, urine and sweat, contain electrolytes. When they are out of balance, you may experience many unpleasant symptoms such as headaches, muscle aches, anxiety, digestive problems, and irregular heartbeat.

Six natural treatments to consider

Although there is no cure for diabetes insipidus, you can effectively control them. Many people choose to supplement their traditional medical treatments with natural treatments. Here are some options to consider.

1. Eat more whole foods

Not only can a balanced diet help you maintain a healthy weight, it can also help you manage the symptoms of diabetes insipidus. Look for water-dense fruits such as citrus fruits, pineapples, berries and melons. You can also stay hydrated by savoring dark leafy greens, peppers, sweet potatoes and squash.

2. Foods to avoid

Processed foods are bad for your body in a number of ways, including glucose levels and fluid balance. Also, they are often loaded with sodium and preservatives that can increase thirst. Instead of carbonated sodas, opt for glasses of water.

Did you know that caffeine can also rob you of hydration? You can also drink alcohol. If you like coffee, tea and occasional drinks, keep them to a minimum.

3. Stay hydrated

It’s easy to get dehydrated when you constantly go to the bathroom. Therefore, you should drink enough water to make up for lost fluids. Always carry a cold water bottle with you, especially when you’re exercising or doing something strenuous. You can also keep a bottle of water by your bed if you feel thirsty at night.

4. Keep electrolytes balanced

It would be helpful if it had electrolytes for vital body functions and to maintain fluid balance. The main electrolyte responsible for fluid balance is sodium. If you eat a lot of sodium, which is often found in processed foods, you can retain more fluid.

It can also make you go to the bathroom more and cause an imbalance in your other electrolytes. Although your body needs sodium, try to keep it to the recommended daily allowance. Drink plenty of water and consider flavoring your food with tasty herbs and spices instead of salt.

5. Check your medications

Certain medications, such as antibiotics, hormone treatments, and blood pressure pills, can negatively affect your electrolyte balance. If you’re taking cancer medications, you’re especially prone to electrolyte imbalances and diabetes insipidus. Drinking more water and eating water-rich foods can help.

6. Avoid dry mouth

Sometimes when you have an insatiable thirst, keeping your mouth moist can alleviate it. The occasional candy or chewing on ice chips can reduce saliva and reduce thirst. It is essential at night not to spend the night going to the bathroom to urinate.

Final thoughts on diabetes insipidus

Regardless of the type of diabetes you have, it is a serious health problem. However, you can control your symptoms with a proper diet and healthy lifestyle. You must not allow diabetes insipidus to keep you from reaching your life goals.

By Chris Butler. Article in English

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