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What is Diabetes Insipidus?

Updated on March 31, 2013

Diabetes insipidus is a medical condition that occurs when the kidneys fail or unable to conserve water for the body usage as they perform their routine function of filtering blood. The common cause that leads to such condition is due to the body not producing enough of Antidiuretic Hormone (ADH), which is also known as vasopressin. Beside that, the failure of your body system to respond to the ADH can also lead to this disease.

Diabetes insipidus is also known as 'water diabetes'.

What is antidiuretic hormone?

ADH is produced by hypothalamus, a region of the brain that contains a number of small nuclei that performs several essential functions that maintain the whole body system. One of the major and most important functions of the hypothalamus is linking the human nervous system to the endocrine system thorough the pituitary gland. ADH is released from hypothalamus and which, then stored and re-released from the pituitary gland.

Exercising Girl Drinking Water
Exercising Girl Drinking Water | Source

If a patient suffered from a lack of antidiuretic hormone, this condition is known as 'Central Diabeties Insipidus'. Some of the common causes that can lead to this situation include:

  • head injury infection on the gland
  • side-effect of post-surgery
  • tumor
  • loss of blood supply to the gland.

When the condition is caused by a defect in the parts in the kidneys that functions to reabord water back into the bloodstream, this is known as 'Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus'. Nephrogenic DI rarely occurs compares to Central DI. Some of the causes of Nephrogenic DI include:

  • taking of certain drugs (like lithium, amphotericin B an demeclocycline)
  • high levels of calcium in the body (the medical term for this condition is known as hypercalcemia)
  • kidney disease

What are the Symptoms of Diabetes Insipidus

Diabetes Insipidus Symptoms

Excessive Water Drinking
Excessive Water Drinking

Patient that suffers from water diabetes will show the following symptoms:

  1. excessive thirst (may be intense and/or uncontrollable)
  2. excessive urine volume (frequent visit to the toilet and which, the color of the urine that looks like pure water with no yellow color)

* You might want to read about Urine color and its indication.

Treatment for Diabetes Insipidus

Treatment for DI depends on the cause of the underlying condition. You will need to visit your doctor or physician for a medical checkup and find out what causes or triggers the condition to occur.

Since central diabetes insipus is caused by a lack of AH, it may then be controlled with the administration of vasopressin. Vasopressin can either be taken as tablets or a nasal spray.

If nephrogenic diabetes insipidus is caused by taking too much of drugs that contain lithium, just by stopping the medication may help restore the normal function of the kidneys. However, it might not help if the patient has been on the medication for too long, making the condition to be permanent.

For cases of nephrogenic DI due to hereditary and lithium-induced, they are normally treated by drinking enough of fluids to match the urine output (to substitute the water loss) and with drugs that lower the urine output. Drugs that are normally administered to patients for these cases include:

  • anti-inflammatory medication
  • diuretics

The patient will be monitored throughout the medication period for any progress. The doctor might introduce new drugs if there is no changes in the patient's condition.

Disclaimer: Please note that this hub serves only as a guide. Should you suffering from diabetes insipidus, please consult your doctor immediately. Seeking professional advices and attentions should be your priority.

Dr. Becker Discusses Diabetes Insipidus or Water Diabetes


Submit a Comment
  • KenWu profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Malaysia

    Thanks a lot Brett for the valuable comment, pinning, votings and sharing!

  • Brett.Tesol profile image

    Brett C 

    6 years ago from Asia

    This was interesting and useful. Something that I doubt many people know about and would be difficult to diagnose ... as most probably wouldn't suspect they have this.

    Shared, pinned, tweeted, up, useful and interesting.

  • KenWu profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Malaysia

    Thanks, girish for the visit and valuable comment.

  • girishpuri profile image

    Girish puri 

    6 years ago from NCR , INDIA

    Useful share about water diabetes. Thank you so much. useful hub.

  • KenWu profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Malaysia

    Thanks, beingwell for the valuable comment. Yeap health is the greatest wealth but somehow we, human has made this opposite.

  • beingwell profile image


    6 years ago from Bangkok

    Yes, I've heard of this. Health is truly our greatest wealth. Voted up.

  • KenWu profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Malaysia

    grassdiabetes, thanks.

    AliciaC, Thanks for the valuable comment. I like your hub very much, that I link it there. :)

  • AliciaC profile image

    Linda Crampton 

    6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

    Thank you for the useful and interesting information about an important topic, KenWu. Thank you very much for linking to my hub, too!

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    helpful stuff!

  • KenWu profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Malaysia

    Thanks Devi for the valuable comment and votes :)

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 

    6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Very interesting about ones health this is such an eye opener, about Diabetes Insipidus, thanks for this information voted up and useful!


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