Despite its name, diabetes insipidus is not connected with diabetes. It is, in fact, a rare medical condition in which there is an imbalance in the levels of the body fluids that causes frequent urination. As per National Health Service, “diabetes insipidus affects about 1 in 25,000 people in the general population. Adults are more likely to develop the condition, but it can occur at any age.”
Agreed Dr Ritesh Gupta Director, of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Fortis CDOC Hospital, New Delhi, and said that this “rare disorder leads to increased formation of urine. It occurs because of the deficiency or poor activity of a hormone called vasopressin, which is secreted by the hypothalamus — a part of the brain.”
He told Indiaexpress.com that this hormone helps maintain the amount of fluid in the body. “Poor action of this hormone causes increased flushing of fluids into the urine,” he added.
Dr Gupta said that diabetes insipidus can be of two types — cranial or nephrogenic.
“In cranial diabetes insipidus, the brain does not produce enough vasopressin hormone. This type can be caused by head injury, brain tumor, infection in the brain, or after brain surgery. In many patients, however, there is no cause of low vasopressin production,” he said.
In the second type, the expert said that the kidneys do not respond to vasopressin properly. “Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus can be caused by certain medicines which are used to treat psychiatric disorders,” he explained.
Dr Gupta said that people suffering from the condition can pass as much as 20 litres of urine per day. “There is also increased thirst and the person drinks a large amount of water,” he added.
“Some special tests are conducted in which the patient is hospitalised and made to avoid drinking water. Then the concentration of solids in urine and blood are measured to diagnose the disease. Treatment usually involves giving desmopressin (a man-made form of vasopressin and is used to replace its low level),” he said. He added that this can be given as a nasal spray, tablet, or injection.