Diabetes insipidus is a rare disease caused due to improper hormonal activity. In this condition, the affected child will suffer from frequent bouts of urination, making him/her feel constantly lethargic, weak and tired. Excessive urination will make the child feel thirsty all the time, impairing his/her sleep pattern at nighttime.
Frequent interruptions to pay visits to the washroom to empty his/her bladder will place immense physical and emotional burden on the child. Diabetes insipidus has absolutely nothing to do with diabetes mellitus, which is characterized by increased blood glucose levels in the body. Diabetes insipidus makes the person feel very thirsty. This is accompanied with excessive urination, making the symptoms appear similar to that of diabetes mellitus.
In this condition, the child’s urine is highly diluted and contains a large amount of water (as opposed to that of healthy individuals whose urine is saturated with chemicals, salts and waste products). The cells and tissues of the affected child will become parched and dehydrated. In extreme cases, the child might also suffer from unconsciousness or even coma if immediate treatment is not meted out.
Causes of Diabetes Insipidus
The five important causes of diabetes insipidus are listed below:
Improper Hormonal Production
Vasopressin is an anti diuretic hormone that is produced from the hypothalamus region in the brain. This hormone is then stored in the pituitary gland and is released to regulate the amount of urination in healthy individuals. In diabetes insipidus, the production and releasing mechanism of this particular hormone gets impaired.
This leads to insufficient vasopressin production, in turn affecting the quality and quantity of urine production. A decrease in this hormone will force the kidneys to expel urine that is highly diluted at an alarmingly frequent basis. This causes water molecules to be lost from the cellsand tissues at a fast rate, forcing the body to undergo severe bouts of dehydration.
Injury to the Hypothalamus
Any external injury to the head region can have an adverse effect on the brain functioning. When the hypothalamus gets injured or impaired, the production of vasopressin automatically gets hindered, leading to an increase in urine output, more than necessary, without adequate urine saturation.
Tumor or Head Surgery
A brain tumor located close to the hypothalamus or in the pituitary gland can directly interfere with the release of several hormones in the body including vasopressin.
In other cases, a child who has undergone a head surgery could also be susceptible to improper hypothalamus functioning. However, it should be noted that cases of diabetes insipidus caused due to these factors are very rare.
In some cases, the child could be affected from rare kidney disorders. In this condition, the deformed or malfunctioning kidneys will not be able to filter waste products effectively.
This leads to an unusual increase in the amount of fluid that gets excreted, which should have other wise been reabsorbed into the body. In some cases, the kidneys might not react or respond to the stimulus produced by vasopressin, in turn causing diabetes insipidus. This condition is called nephrogenic diabetes insipidus.
Infections and Genes
In some cases, certain type of infections that lead to the development of encephalitis, meningitis or tuberculosis could also trigger a diabetic insipidus attack in children.
In rare cases, the child might be susceptible to malfunctioning genes that are passed on from the mother or father, making it a case of hereditary disorder.