Diabetes insipidus shares its first name and few of the symptoms with diabetes mellitus. It is a rare condition in which the kidneys are unable to conserve water as they perform their function of filtering blood. The process of filtration of blood is complex and requires the activity of few hormones of which ADH (anti-diuretic hormone) is most important. It is either due to poor production of ADH by the body or due to failure of the kidneys to respond to ADH that the condition arises.
A person might develop diabetes insipidus because of a head injury, infection, surgery or tumour of pituitary, the gland which produces ADH. The kidneys can also develop a defect in the parts that reabsorb water back into blood because of certain medications or high levels of calcium in the body or polycystic kidney disease.
The symptoms include: excessive thirst which may be uncontrollable and excessive urine formation. Unlike diabetes mellitus there is no sugar or albumin which is excreted in urine thus giving it the name insipidus (bland).
Diabetes insipidus can be detected in a person by performing few tests like MRI of head, urine test, urine output, etc. To treat the condition it is important to gauge the underlying cause which should be treated if possible. E.g. in case of deficiency of ADH, supplementation can be an option or if DI is caused by medication, stopping the medication may help restore normal kidney function. It is very important to drink enough fluids to match urine output and certain medications can be administered, by the healthcare provider, that lower urine output.
The disease does not cause severe problems or does not reduce life expectancy. However, not drinking enough fluids can lead to complications like dehydration, dry skin, rapid heart rate, sunken eyes, unexplained weight loss, electrolyte (sodium, potassium, chloride) imbalance, tiredness and irritability.
It is really a matter of concern if you develop symptoms of diabetes insipidus. Be prompt in getting it diagnosed and take care of your fluid and electrolyte intake.