Diabetes insipidus can happen to anyone. The good news is that this disease isn’t overly harmful to those who wind up developing it. There isn’t the threat of kidney damage like in other diseases. Unlike diabetes mellitus, insulin injections or blood sugar controlling medications are not required. There aren’t any painful daily blood tests to take. Treating diabetes insipidus typically involves fluid management, lifestyle changes, and sometimes specific medication that is usually taken orally or through a nose spray.
About 1 in 25,000 people will be diagnosed with diabetes insipidus at some point in their lifetime.
The goal of treating most forms of diabetes insipidus is to concentrate the urine within the body so that frequent urination can be controlled. This is typically done through the introduction of synthetic hormones or diuretics, depending on the form of the disease. NSAID medications may also be recommended as they can concentrate urine with diuretics as well.
Interesting Facts About Diabetes Insipidus
1. The US rates of diabetes insipidus are much higher than the rest of the world. The chances of an American developing the disease are 1 in 6,666.
2. Diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure in the United States, but that is because of diabetes mellitus, not diabetes insipidus.
3. Up to 30% of the cases of diabetes insipidus that are eventually diagnosed do not have a contributing medical cause to it that has been discovered.
4. 1 in 4 cases of central diabetes insipidus occurs because of the presence of a tumor on the pituitary gland. This tumor may be benign or malignant.
5. 16%. That’s the percentage of central diabetes insipidus cases that occur because of some form of head trauma, such as a Grade 3 concussion.
6. 1 in 5 people who must undergo a cranial surgery will develop diabetes insipidus during their recovery period.
7. Some forms of diabetes insipidus can be passed along genetically from parent to child. Fathers are more likely to pass along genetic versions of this disease than mothers, but both parents can do it.
What is interesting about diabetes insipidus is that nearly a third of the cases of this disease have no known medical cause. Despite this, Americans have one of the highest prevalence rates in the world today. Is this because of better medical science at their disposal? Or could it be because of their lifestyle habits? Americans consume more calories per day than anyone else in the world and one-third of the population has a BMI over 30. Austrians only consume 10 fewer calories per day, but only 9% of the population has a BMI over 30. What’s the difference? Sleep habits, lower amounts of processed foods, and less sedentary jobs may all contribute to the better health… and the lower levels of diabetes insipidus being diagnosed.
Some Forms of Diabetes Insipidus Come and Go
1. 40% of the people who take lithium on a long-term basis for their mental health needs will eventually develop nephrogenic diabetes insipidus.
2. Gestational diabetes insipidus typically occurs in the third trimester and is very rare. Only a handful of people out every 100,000 pregnant women will develop it.
3. Lithium-induced diabetes insipidus may resolve itself when lithium concentrations in the kidneys or throughout the body are reduced.
4. Most women with gestational diabetes insipidus will typically experience relief within 4-6 weeks of their pregnancy resolving.
5. For every 100,000 people who go to the hospital with the signs and symptoms of diabetes insipidus, only 15 of them will be diagnosed with this disease.
6. There is an estimated 40,800 people in the United States right now who are living with this disease.
Central diabetes insipidus is the most common form of this disease, just slightly above the nephrogenic version. This is because there is a greater prevalence for head injuries and tumor development when compared to the amount of lithium that is being taken by the general population. Gestational diabetes insipidus is quite rare and usually goes away within a few weeks of it developing. When caused by a correctable condition, other forms can also be permanently treated. In mild cases, however, doctors may recommend no medical interventions and prefer a change in diet and drinking habits to manage the effects of the disease.
How Scary Is Diabetes Insipidus?
1. In severe cases of this disease, a person may pass up to 20 liters of urine per day. That enough to fill 5 one gallon milk containers with urine every day.
2. One form of this disease, which is caused by psychogenic factors, has the reverse issue. Instead of expelling too much water, the body retains too much water because of lifestyle habits.
3. The symptoms of diabetes insipidus are very similar to diabetes mellitus, which is often why people find themselves at the doctor’s office getting checked.
4. Mild forms of diabetes insipidus may be impossible to detect because the amount of urine expelled (2.0 -2.5 liters]) fits within the daily averages that the general population experiences (1.6 -2.6 liters).
5. Excessive thirst is the most common symptom of this disease, more so than even excessive urination.
6. Before any treatment can begin, the specific form of diabetes insipidus must be diagnosed because each form of the disease requires a different type of treatment.
7. Doctors will often use a blood test, urine test, and possibly a renal sonograph in order to rule out other diseases that can cause similar symptoms.
8. Sometimes electrolyte imbalances may occur that may cause bothersome symptoms, like muscle twitching, that have a similar profile to serious diseases like ALS when searched online.
The kidneys are still able to filter impurities out of the blood when diabetes insipidus is present. There is no need to be considered about dialysis being required in the future. Many people are able to successfully control their disease through increased fluid consumption, medication management, or both. The most dangerous form of this disease is therefore the psychogenic version, which occurs when people drink too much water on their own. This may be caused by a mental illness, a behavior disorder, or other physical condition. When left untreated, the psychogenic version of diabetes insipidus may cause water toxicity, which can be life-threatening.
How Often Does Someone Use the Bathroom?
1. Someone suffering from diabetes insipidus may find themselves going to the bathroom at least once every 60 minutes day and night.
2. A person who is not pushing fluids and requires at least 7 bathroom stops to urinate every day may be suffering from this disease.
3. Diabetes insipidus is an around the clock issue, which often causes people to either get up several times during the night to use the bathroom.
4. Bed-wetting is common in children and adults who are suffering from this disease. Children who urinate more than 10 times during the day may also be suffering from the disease.
5. Diabetes insipidus can make itself known at any age, including in newborns, even though age is one of the greatest risk factors for disease development.
6. In severe cases of nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, children may experience brain damage because of the constant exposure to dehydration.
For most people, the presence of diabetes insipidus is nothing more than a minor complication. In severe cases or in undiagnosed cases in children, however, the threat of dehydration is great. That’s why paying attention to the bathroom habits of children is especially important. Kids are already naturally prone to not consuming enough fluids every day as it is. Dehydration can quickly set in and put them at risk for severe health problems that can last for a lifetime. That’s why speaking with a doctor about an effective treatment option is so important.
What Treatment Options Are Available?
1. In severe cases of diabetes insipidus, IV hydration is a common treatment option to relieve severe dehydration.
2. 5% glucose solutions when co-occurring diabetes mellitus is not present may also provide relief.
3. In central diabetes insipidus cases, a common method of treatment includes Desmopressin, which is a synthetic hormone that tells the body when water should be retained or expelled.
4. Bendrofluazide is sometimes prescribed to reduce the feelings of thirst or limit night urination urges.
5. Certain diuretics like amiloride or thiazide are used to concentrate urine.
6. A diabetes insipidus diet that is low in sodium may also be recommended.
Diabetes insipidus can be a frightening diagnosis at first, but when properly managed, it is barely even an inconvenience. Certain foods may need to be avoided and there may be specific medications to take that may require an injection, but the statistics prove that this disease is not going to put your life at risk. The average lifespan reduction for someone with diabetes mellitus is 10 years, even with proper disease management. For diabetes insipidus, people with this disease live just as long as the general population with proper care.
That’s why knowing these diabetes insipidus statistics is so important. Armed with the facts, there is no longer a need to fear this disease.