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Diabetes Insipidus: Care Instructions


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 or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) 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 or nurse advice line 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 or nurse advice line 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 light-headed, 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 or nurse advice line if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.