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Diabetes insipidus - central
Alternative namesCentral diabetes insipidus
DefinitionA condition marked by extreme thirst and excessive urine output caused by a deficiency of a hormone ( vasopressin ) that normally would limit the amount of urine made. See also diabetes insipidus - nephrogenic .
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Central diabetes insipidus is a rare condition caused by damage to the hypothalamus or pituitary gland in the brain. Damage may be related to surgery, infection, inflammation, tumor , or injury to the head . Sometimes the cause remains unknown. Very rarely, diabetes insipidus can be caused by a genetic defect.
Normally, the hypothalamus in the brain makes vasopressin , a hormone that causes the kidneys to conserve water by making concentrated urine. In diabetes insipidus , there is a lack of vasopressin. Without vasopressin, the kidneys fail to reabsorb excess filtered water. This results in a rapid loss of water from the body in the form of dilute urine.
A person with diabetes insipidus drinks large quantities of water, driven by extreme thirst , to compensate for the water loss.
Signs and tests
The cause of the underlying condition should be treated.
Vasopressin (desmopressin) will be administered either as a nasal spray, oral tablets, or injections under the skin. This controls the urine output and fluid balance, and prevents dehydration .
In mild cases, increased water intake may be all that is needed. If the thirst mechanism is not working (for example, if a part of the brain called the hypothalamus is damaged), a presciption for a certain amount of water intake may also be needed (usually 2-2.5 L per day) to ensure proper hydration.
The outcome is dictated by the underlying disorder. If treated, diabetes insipidus does not cause severe problems or reduce life expectancy.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if symptoms indicate diabetes insipidus may be present.
Many of the cases may not be preventable. Prompt treatment of infections, tumors and injuries may reduce risk.
Update Date: 11/3/2002Todd T. Brown, M.D., Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT