Diabetes Insipidus: Care Instructions

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Diabetes insipidus (DI) is a disease caused by a hormonal problem. It makes you feel very thirsty and urinate a lot. But it usually doesn't cause serious problems if you drink plenty of water. You can live a long and full life with DI.

There are two types of DI.

  • Central diabetes insipidus happens when your body can't make enough of the hormone called antidiuretic hormone (ADH). ADH helps keep water in your body.
  • Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus happens when your body makes enough ADH, but your kidneys don't respond to it. This causes your body to make too much urine.

DI isn't related to type 1 or type 2 diabetes. You don't have to worry about testing your blood sugar or insulin shots. Your treatment will include drinking plenty of fluids. It may also include medicines or changing how you eat.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Be safe with medicines. Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • You may need to eat less salt and protein. It depends on the type of DI you have.
  • You may need a diuretic medicine (a water pill). Your doctor may also prescribe other medicine.
  • Drink lots of fluids. You need to drink more water than other people do. It's a good idea to carry water with you at all times.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have symptoms of dehydration, such as:
    • Dry eyes and a dry mouth.
    • Feeling much thirstier than usual.
  • You are dizzy or lightheaded, or you feel like you may faint.
  • You are very confused and can't think clearly.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.