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Diabetes Insipidus
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Last updated October 31, 2017, April 17, 2011
By Susan M. Callahan, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

What is diabetes insipidus?

When most people say the word "diabetes", they actually mean
diabetes mellitus. Diabetes mellitus occurs in two types, Type 1
and Type 2, the form that is fast becoming the top deadly disease
globally.  Diabetes insipidus is relatively uncommon, occuring in 1
of every 25,000 people, about 13,200 people in the US. In
contrast, over 25 million people have diabetes mellitus in the US,
according to the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes mellitus
is caused by either the body destroying its ability to make insulin
(Type 1) or becoming resistant to taking in insulin from the blood
(Type 2).

But there is another form of diabetes-- "diabetes insipidus" or
"DI". Diabetes insipidus is caused by the lack of the antidiuretic
hormone called "vasopressin" or the kidney's inability to respond
to this hormone.

What are the symptoms of diabetes insipidus?

Vasopressin has one key function in your body is to inhibit the
urge to urinate. in fact, one of the alternative names for
vasopressin is "antidiuretic hormone". It's also called arginine
vasopressin or argipressin.

Both forms of diabetes --mellitus and insipidus--have similar
symptoms. In both, you experience thirst and frequent urination.  
With diabetes insipidus, you urinate more frequently and in much
greater volumes.

However, according to the National Institutes of Health, diabetes
insipidus does not cause high blood sugar levels and thus does not
requite you to take insulin. Interestingly, the US has far high rates
of diabetes insipidus --- about 1 in every 6,666 people ---than the
rest of the world.

The color of your urine is different with diabetes insipidus. With
diabetes insipidus, your urine color is very pale yellow color or
almost clear. With In the other diabetes, your urine is darker and
opaque. (Read more about
what the color of your urine means.)

Diabetes insipidus is sometimes called "central DI" or "nephrogenic
DI" to prevent confusion with the more common form of diabetes.

There are four forms of DI: central DI (also referred to as pituitary
or neurogenic DI), nephrogenic DI, gestational DI and dipsogenic

Interestingly, diabetes insipidus can be caused by treatment with
certain drugs. Those who are being treated with lithium for
various psychiatric disorders are at higher risk for diabetes
insipidus, according to a 1999 study from University Hospital Lund
in Sweden.


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