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What Is Diabetes Insipidus?

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Most people have heard of the two main types of diabetes. But did you know the name has nothing to do with high blood sugar? It's a general term for any condition that causes your body to make a lot of urine. 

And that’s just what, diabetes insipidus does. This condition makes you extra thirsty. As a result, you pee -- a lot.

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How Does It Affect You?

Your body makes a substance called antidiuretic hormone (ADH). It’s produced in a part of your brain called the hypothalamus and stored in your pituitary gland. It tells your kidneys to hold onto water, which makes your urine more concentrated.

When you’re thirsty or slightly dehydrated, ADH levels rise. Your kidneys reabsorb more water and put out concentrated urine. If you’ve had plenty to drink, ADH levels fall and what comes out is clear and dilute.

When your body doesn’t make enough ADH, the condition is called central diabetes insipidus. If you make enough but your kidneys can't respond to it, you have nephrogenic diabetes insipidus.

In either form, the result is the same. Your kidneys can't retain water, so even if you’re dehydrated, they'll put out a lot of pale, or diluted urine.

What Are the Symptoms?

When your kidneys can’t conserve water, you’ll:

  • Get really thirsty
  • Pee a lot -- this is known as polyuria

Some people get dehydrated.

If you lose too much water, you could have:

  • Unexplained weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle pains
  • Irritability

How Is It Diagnosed?

If you have this condition, you’ll probably wind up at the doctor for help with your thirst and constant need for a bathroom.

To diagnose you, the doctor will do a series of blood and urine tests that may take several hours. You’ll go without water the whole time, so you’ll get thirstier. Your doctor will measure the sodium in your blood and pee.

He may give you an ADH substitute to see if your kidneys respond by concentrating your urine. The lab test results and your response to the ADH help the doctor make the call.

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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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