All About Diabetes Insipidus
Diabetes insipidus is a situation wherein the patient feels excessive thirst and excretes huge amounts of diluted urine. This unusual condition happens when the kidneys’ normal functions fail; kidneys are no longer able to conserve fluids as they filter the blood that passes through the body. There are several types of diabetes insipidus among humans. These are central diabetes insipidus, nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, as well as dipsogenic diabetes insipidus and gestational diabetes insipidus.
The most common form of this condition is central diabetes insipidus. Under this type, the pituitary gland is damaged, thus disrupting the way the body normally stores and releases the antidiuretic hormone or also known as vasopressin. This antidiuretic hormone is produced in the hypothalamus, a part of the brain. The role of the pituitary gland then is to store and release this hormone, but since the pituitary gland is damaged, this part of the body can no longer function as such. Head injury, tumors, surgery and infection can cause the damage to the pituitary gland. The central diabetes insipidus may be treated by taking a desmopressin, a synthetic hormone which can be administered by injecting it to the blood stream.
Another form of this condition is nephrogenic diabetes insipidus. This time, the kidneys are directly affected as they can no longer respond to the antidiuretic hormone being released by the body. Foreign substances such as lithium can affect the kidney’s ability to do such. This condition can also arise as a complication brought by other diseases such as sickle cell disease, partial blockage of the ureters, kidney failure, inherited genetic disorders and polycystic kidney disease. Desmopressin will not be effective in treating this disease but patients can take a combination of hydrochlorothiazide and amiloride.
The third classification of diabetes insipidus is the dipsogenic DI, which is a condition that arises from the damage or defects in the ability of the brain to detect thirst. Abnormal increase in thirst is caused by this disease as well as fluid intake which can then suppress the secretion of the antidiuretic hormone. This condition also increases the amount of urine produced by the body. For people who have this condition, they should avoid taking in excessive amounts of fluid as this can result to water intoxication, causing a decline in the sodium concentration and severe damage to the brain. There are not any known cures for this type of diabetes insipidus.
The fourth type of diabetes insipidus is gestational DI. This occurs among pregnant women and is caused by the disruption of the processing of the antidiuretic hormone by the enzyme made by the placenta. The placenta protects and nourishes the fetus inside the mother’s womb. Desmopressin can be used to treat this disease; however, in cases wherein aberration in the thirst mechanism causes gestational DI, this drug should never be taken.
Early detection of diabetes insipidus is important so that the physician can administer the proper treatment for the patient immediately. Usually, diabetes insipidus is diagnosed via a series urinalysis and fluid deprivation tests.