Diabetes Insipidus (DI)
Many of the hormones in your body are released from the pituitary gland in your brain. A hormone called ADH (anti-diuretic hormone) helps the kidneys to concentrate urine. Diabetes Insipidus (DI) occurs when there is a decrease in the amount of ADH released. With a decrease in the amount of ADH, the urine becomes very dilute and appears clear like water. When this happens, you can be at greater risk for swelling in your brain. DI is not the same as Diabetes Mellitus, a common disease that affects blood sugar.
- Sinus or general head surgery
- Head trauma
- Brain tumors
- Drinking very large amounts of water because of certain disorders (rare)
Signs & Symptoms
- Increased thirst
- Dehydration with dry skin
- Large amounts of extremely dilute urine
- High blood sodium level
- Low blood pressure
Diagnosis and Treatment
DI is diagnosed with simple blood and urine tests. The goal is to find and treat the cause. In most cases, DI will resolve if treated. Your doctors may want you to take medicines (steroids or diuretics) to decrease swelling in the brain. For a while, blood and urine tests will be done daily or more often. Surgery may be needed in extreme cases.
The staff will attempt to prevent dehydration by asking you to drink more fluids. They can also give you more fluids through your IV. Be sure to let the staff know how much you are drinking and urinating. They will need to keep track of your input and output very closely. The doctor may order medicines to control your sodium and potassium levels. In more severe cases, a synthetic form of ADH called vasopressin or DDAVP may be given. It will help the body to conserve water.
Let the staff know if you have questions.
The Clinical Practice of Neurological and Neurosurgical Nursing. Joanne V. Hickey, 2003, 5th edition, p. 208-210.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 03/10/2010
Copyright © 03/10/2010 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6269
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