Dealing with Diabetes Insipidus

Diabetes Insipidus is a deficiency of antidiuretic hormone called vasopressin, which results to inability to conserve water in the body and causes dehydration and loss of potassium. This condition is characterized by excessive thirst and excretion of large amounts of diluted urine.

Diabetes insipidus is not similar with diabetes mellitus. Although its symptoms of excessive urination and thirst are alike, the diseases are completely unrelated. Diabetes insipidus is commonly referred as “water diabetes”.

Diabetes insipidus has 4 classifications which are:

• Neurogenic – Commonly known as central diabetes insipidus, this is caused by the deficiency of vasopressin.

• Nephrogenic – This is due to inability of the kidneys to respond to vasopressin.

• Dipsogenic – This is due to a defect or damage to the thirst mechanism that results to abnormal increased thirst and fluid intake.

• Gestational – This occurs during pregnancy, in which there is an excessive production of vasopressinase.

The common complications associated with diabetes insipidus that must be monitored are:
• Electrolyte imbalance
• Hypovolemia
• Hypotension
• Shock

With these fatal complications, treatment and interventions in diabetes insipidus are very important. Dealing with diabetes insipidus must be a hand-to-hand relationship between the client and the one taking care of them. Major interventions are the following:

1. Since excessive thirst is a typical symptom of diabetes insipidus, make sure that water is always available all the time to prevent dehydration. In addition, most patients prefer ice cold water because it can quench their thirst better, compared to warm water.

2. Medications according to the type of diabetes insipidus are prescribed by the doctor. Common are vasopressin, anti-inflammatory medications, and diuretics. But be cautious with the side effects of these medications.

3. Minimize salt intake by replacing table salt with herbs, salt-free spices, and salt substitute. Also, avoid processed food like bacon, ham, canned goods, and potato chips.

4. Maximize nutrient intake by providing a healthy diet plan. Encourage several small meals a day. Add carbohydrates and fats to the meal and make sure to give up a high calorie diet.

5. Proper exercise and staying physically active also reduce the risk of complication.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Diabetes Federation have come up with a joint program which is called “Diabetes Action Now” that provides information and tools to raise awareness about diabetes and its complications, particularly in low and middle income countries. This program is also supported by World Diabetes Foundation.

What to expect as clients with diabetes insipidus is that the outcome of this condition depends on the underlying disorders. If diabetes insipidus is treated, it will not cause any severe problems or reduce life expectancy. With excellent compliance with vasopressin, the prognosis is surely good.

Clients having diabetes insipidus must be cautious especially when there is frequent urination and thirst. When these happen, call your doctor immediately for proper intervention to the problem.

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