The question, "What is diabetes insipidus?" may be new to you. Plenty has been written about its relative diabetes mellitus yet diabetes insipidus remains a bit more of a mystery.
To define what is diabetes insipidus you could describe it as “a rare form of diabetes resulting from a deficiency of vasopressin (the pituitary hormone that regulates the kidneys); characterized by the chronic excretion of large amounts of pale dilute urine which results in dehydration and extreme thirst” (1).
It is the presence of the large amounts of pale dilute urine that give diabetes insipidus the nickname water diabetes, which distinguishes it from diabetes mellitus which has been referred to as sugar diabetes.
Other symptoms of diabetes insipidus include extreme thirst, urine that is not yellow but is pale and watery, and repeated trips to the bathroom including waking during the night to urinate or uncontrollable bedwetting accidents.
There are 4 types of diabetes insipidus:
Diabetes insipidus is primarily due to genetics, but can also be caused by brain tumors, head trauma, chronic meningitis, multiple sclerosis and hypercalcaemia (excess calcium in the blood).
Diabetes insipidus treatments will depend on the type of diabetes insipidus diagnosed.
The best answer to what is diabetes insipidus is that it is a disorder that results in the abnormally high output of watery urine along with an increase in fluid intake and thirst. This condition is rarer than diabetes mellitus.
(1) Audio English (2010). Diabetes insipidus. Retrieved from http://www.audioenglish.net/dictionary/diabetes_insipidus.htm
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