DEFINITION--A rare disorder of the hormone system, centered in the pituitary
BODY PARTS INVOLVED--Pituitary gland; endocrine system.
SEX OR AGE MOST AFFECTED--Both sexes; all ages.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
- Excessive thirst that is difficult to satisfy.
- Passage of large amounts (up to 15 quarts a day) of diluted, colorless urine.
- Dry hands.
Deficiency of an antidiuretic (ADH) hormone normally secreted by the pituitary gland.
The deficiency may result from the following:
- Head injury, with damage to the pituitary gland.
- Tumor of the pituitary gland.
- Other brain tumor that applies pressure to the pituitary gland.
- Infection in the brain, such as encephalitis or meningitis.
- Bleeding inside the skull.
- Kidney disease.
RISK INCREASES WITH
- Preceding illness or injury in the brain.
- Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
- Family history of diabetes insipidus.
HOW TO PREVENT--No specific preventive measures.
What To Expect
- Your own observation of symptoms.
- Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
- Laboratory studies, such as water-deprivation tests to determine levels of ADH.
APPROPRIATE HEALTH CARE
- Doctor's treatment.
- Treatment involves controlling fluid balance and preventing dehydration; identifying and
eliminating the cause of the diabetes insipidus.
- Surgery if a tumor or aneurysm is present.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS--Electrolyte imbalance, especially increased sodium or
potassium deficiency. Either of these can cause heartbeat irregularity, fatigue and
congestive heart failure.
- If the disorder is caused by a tumor or aneurysm, it can be cured by surgery.
- If the disorder is caused by a head injury, spontaneous recovery is likely within a
- If the disorder is caused by a preceding brain infection, symptoms may persist
How To Treat
- If brain surgery is necessary, see Craniotomy (in Surgery section) for an explanation of
surgery and postoperative care.
- Check weight daily and maintain a record.
MEDICATION--Your doctor may prescribe synthetic ADH in nose drops, powder or
DIET--No special diet. Drink as much water as you feel you need.
Call Your Doctor If
- You have symptoms of diabetes insipidus.
- Symptoms don't improve, despite treatment.
- New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.