Diabetes insipidus

Specialty of Nephrology

What is diabetes insipidus?

Diabetes insipidus is a rare disorder that is characterized by a defect in the renal tubules, which causes a person to eliminate a large amount of urine and lose too much water. There are several types of diabetes insipidus:

  • central: due to brain damage that hinders the production of vasopressin, the anti-diuretic hormone.
  • nephrogenic: a renal disorder that also prevents the action of vasopressin.
  • dipsogenic: due to a damage in the thirst-producing system, which is found at the level of the hypothalamus, which causes an abnormal increase in thirst and, therefore, an increase in water intake, a suppression of the vasopressin secretion and an increase in renal excretion of water.
  • gestational: occurs when there is a lack of vasopressin only during pregnancy.

Diabetes affects about 1 in 25,000 people in the UK.

What are the symptoms of diabetes insipidus?

The main symptoms are:

  • excessive thirst
  • excessive urine volume
  • frequent urination

What are the causes of diabetes insipidus?

The cause of central diabetes insipidus is damage to the pituitary gland or hypothalamus, which may be due to:

  • cranial trauma
  • genetic problems
  • loss of blood flow to the pituitary gland
  • infection
  • tumors in the pituitary gland or near
  • surgery

On the other hand, nephrogenic diabetes insipidus may be due to:

What is the treatment for diabetes insipidus?

Central diabetes insipidus can be controlled with vasopressin, which can be taken with nasal spray, injection or tablets. As for nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, if the cause is some medication, its suspension can help to recover the correct functioning of the kidney; if the cause is hereditary, enough fluid must be taken to balance the diuresis and also take some medications to balance diuresis.

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