Understanding the contrast between diabetes insipidus and mellitus Understanding the contrast between diabetes insipidus and mellitus

Even though both are called diabetes, diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus are two very different conditions with different causes, symptoms, and treatments.

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes mellitus, often referred to just as diabetes, occurs when your pancreas isn’t producing enough insulin to regulate your blood sugar (glucose) levels. When you have an increased blood sugar level as a result of insulin deficiency, you may have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes Mellitus Symptoms:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Blurred vision
  • Weight loss despite an excessive appetite
  • Excessive urination
  • Frequent infections and slow-healing sores
  • Excessive glucose in the urine
  • Tiredness

The cause of type 1 diabetes isn’t clear, but it is thought that genetics and environmental factors are involved. Type 2 diabetes can be caused by these same factors as well as being overweight.

Diabetes Insipidus

Diabetes insipidus is a very rare condition that, despite its name, isn’t related to the pancreas or blood sugar levels. Instead, it occurs when your kidneys create secretions of a large quantity of diluted glucose-free urine.

On average, your kidneys produce about 1-2 litres of urine per day, but if you have diabetes insipidus you can produce up to 20 litres. This urine will be mostly pale in colour as it is made up of mostly water.

Other symptoms of diabetes insipidus:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Dehydration
  • Craving cold drinks

Diabetes insipidus is caused by the failure of the antidiuretic hormone in your body called vasopressin (AVP). AVP regulates the level of water in your body by controlling how much urine your kidneys produce. When you have diabetes insipidus, AVP doesn’t do its job and you end up making too much urine.

Diabetes Treatment

If you have a mild case of diabetes insipidus, you may be able to control it by drinking more water. For more severe cases, your GP or an endocrinologist may put you on medications to take the place of AVP.

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes both require lifestyle changes like exercising regularly, eating healthy, and regularly checking your blood glucose levels. Type 1 diabetics will have to use synthetic forms of insulin to regulate their blood sugar while Type 2 diabetics will most likely need a medication like Metformin to manage diabetes.

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