Symptoms of diabetes insipidus can happen at any age. Sometimes they arise gradually; other times suddenly. They include:
- A frequent need to pass urine, even at night
- Extreme thirst that causes a person to drink enormous quantities of water
- Dehydration, if a person isn't able to replace the fluids that he or she is losing through urine
- Imbalanced electrolytes. These are salts in the blood. The atoms or groups of atoms in these salts have an electrical charge (either negative or positive). The electrolytes are what your cells (especially nerve, heart and muscle) use to maintaining electrical currents to carry electrical impulses across themselves and to other cells. Examples of major electrolytes are sodium, potassium, calcium, choride and phosphate. A person with diabetes insipidus will have relatively high levels of sodium and potassium.
Causes and Risk Factors for Diabetes Insipidus
Diabetes insipidus can be caused in several ways:
- The body lacks the water-retaining hormone (vasopressin or ADH). This type is called neurogenic diabetes insipidus. It is sometimes referred to as cranial, central or pituitary diabetes insipidus. The hormone may be either totally or partially lacking.
- The kidneys have an abnormality that prevents them from responding to the water-retaining hormone. This is called nephrogenic diabetes insipidus.
While it is often impossible to know what the direct cause of insipidus was, the condition can sometimes be due to inherited abnormalities, tumors, injuries to the skull, diseases such as sarcoidosis or tuberculosis, blood vessel abnormalities such as aneurysms or infections such as encephalitis or meningitis.