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LIVING WITH THE THIRD KIND OF DIABETES: DIABETES INSIPIDUS
About 17 years ago, I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. I was going through a high risk pregnancy, with my son Patrick, maybe because I was already 40 years old, and my last pregnancy had been about 17 years ago, with my daughter Jessica. This diagnosis really took me by surprise, because, to my knowledge, I had no body in my family, who suffered from this disease.
The doctor had told me that, the gestational diabetes, would go away after I had my baby, and good enough it did! Until a year later, when it came back, stronger than ever! This time I didn't have to inject myself with insulin, instead, the doctor gave me a pill to take twice a day, and I have continued with this treatment for the last 16 years.
I regularly exercise, I watch what I eat, and I do pray a lot too, so someone, someday, will find the cure for this unforgiven disease. However, for the last 5 years, I have noticed some changes in my health: mi vision is deteriorating, I get a sharp pain in my feet at night, and I travel to the bathroom about ...20,000 times! I drink a lot of water during the night though, because my mouth gets so dry, that I wake up choking and coughing uncontrollably.
Sounds familiar? The doctor told me that these were just typical symptoms of my diabetes: “It just comes with the package” he said. But I'm not the kind of patient that just go with the flow, so I did my own research, and I found out that although he was right, there was another “possibility” for my symptoms.
Besides the two well known types of diabetes Mellitus 1, and 2, there is a third kind of diabetes, often misdiagnosed or overlooked: Diabetes Insipidus.
This type of Diabetes have similar symptoms to the Diabetes Mellitus, however it is a completely different disease, and requires a completely different treatment.
WHAT IS DIABETES INSIPIDUS?
Diabetes Insipidus, occurs when the system, that regulates the kidney's function to handle the fluids in our body, is disrupted. Our body is an amazing machine, and absolutely everything, has a function. In the case of the kidneys, they remove the excess of fluid from the blood stream, and storage it in the bladder, as urine. The purpose of this, is to be able to keep a necessary balance, in case of a sudden loss of fluid, such as excessive sweats, excessive bleeding, vomit, or diarrhea.
All this is possible, thanks to a hormone called Vasopressin or ADH, which dictates the kidneys, to reabsorb some of the filtered water to the bloodstream, and therefore, to produce less urine. The ADH is produced by the gland Hipothalamus, which is located in the brain, close to the Pituitary gland.
When the Hipothalamus gland does not produce enough ADH, or any part of this process is disrupted, the Diabetes Insipidus occurs. Being the symptoms of excessive thirst, and excessive urination, the same ones as the Diabetes Mellitus, is easy to understand, how this disease is often misdiagnosed by doctors.
However, these are two completely unrelated diseases, which have a totally different cause too: Diabetes Mellitus is the result of a deficiency of insulin, or a resistance to it causing high blood sugar; Diabetes Insipidus, in the other hand, is caused by a disruption of the system, which regulates the level of fluids in our body.
Further tests are required to correctly diagnosed this disease. Most of the times, we leave the doctor's office, completely convinced that we have Diabetes Mellitus, and we continue to follow the instructions given by the physicians, in order to control our blood sugar level. However,it is up to us, to do a little bit more research, whenever it is about our own health.
TAKING THE WRONG MEDICINE MIGHT AFFECT YOU IN OTHER WAYS
I blame my own self for not going the extra mile, and just being one more passive patient, living under my diabetes “shadow”. After taking Metformin for 16 years, I wondered if this had caused me some kind of side effects. Indeed, I did found out that most of my conditions were probably related to the intake of this medicine. Like gastrointestinal disorders, Fibromyalgia, reduced absorption to certain vitamins like Vitamin B12 (some of the consequences of a lack of Vitamin B12 include: insomnia, fatigue, blurred vision, and weight gain), higher risk for heart attacks, liver and kidney problems, anemia and others.
But not everything has been bad from taking Metformin, I also discover that my continuous weight loss, was part of a side effect too! Lately discoveries concluded that, Metformin also helps fight other health conditions as well, such as acne, irregular menstrual cycles, and reduces the risk for miscarriages.
Diabetes Insipidus has to be diagnosed and treated by an Endocrinologist. Find one in your area, don't delay! If you think this article might refer to you, seek help today please!