Everything You Need To Know About Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus (NDI)

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Do you feel the need to use the restrooms more often than usual? Feel thirsty even after drinking tons of water? Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus might be the reason. Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus is an uncommon condition wherein the kidneys can’t respond to a hormone that regulates fluid balance hence, excessive urination and thirst are the results. Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus can be challenging to treat.

What is Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus (NDI)?

Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus (NDI) is a rare disorder that occurs when the kidneys are unable to concentrate urine in a proper way. Normally the body balances the fluid intake with the amount of urine expelled from the body, however people with NDI produce more than normal amounts of urine. This is a condition known as polyuria and it causes insatiable thirst, or polydipsia. It can cause dehydration and other complications, and can be fatal if you don’t get treatment for it. NDI is not related to diabetes mellitus, more commonly known as diabetes.

What are the causes of Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus (NDI)?

The balance between fluid intake and urine excretion in a human body is regulated by a hormone called antidiuretic hormone (ADH). When fluid intake is low, the body’s levels of ADH increase and signal the kidneys to make less urine. On the other hand, when fluid intake is high, ADH levels decrease and signal the kidneys to create more urine. Waste and excess water in the blood are filtered through the kidneys, which then store liquid waste, or urine, in the bladder.

According to United Kingdom National Health Service, when ADH doesn’t work normally, may be because of a medical condition, medication, or genetics, the kidneys don’t concentrate urine correctly. This means that a person has to urinate too much, washing out excess water out of a human body! 

Symptoms of Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus (NDI)

According to the National Organization of Rare Disorders, the inability of a kidney to conserve water leads to the following symptoms:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urine production (polyuria).

People who have nephrogenic diabetes insipidus need to drink a large glass of liquid every 15 minutes, all day, every day or it may cause dehydration! Excessive fluid losses can also cause electrolyte imbalances that may result in:

  • Unexplained weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle pains
  • Irritability

Types of Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus

Acquired NDI: Acquired NDI is caused either because of certain medications or having certain medical conditions. Although most acquired forms of NDI stem from medication use, there are certain medical conditions  that interfere with the normal functioning of ADH and can cause acquired NDI.

Genetic NDI: Genetic NDI occurs due to genetic mutations, which are passed down through generations. Mutations are mistakes or damage that cause a change in the genes of a person that can interfere with the normal functioning of ADH.

Treatment for Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus

Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus can be difficult to treat, as there are very limited ways to get the kidneys to respond to the ADH! 

  • Discontinuation of medicines: In acquired forms of NDI, the treatment is often focused on correcting the underlying cause of the condition, such as discontinuing a medication that caused NDI. 
  • Dietary change: Your doctors will usually recommend a low-sodium, low-protein diet to adults that should help reduce the urine output.
  • Medications: If diet changes don’t help reduce your urine output, your doctor may also recommend medications can reduce urination.

Without treatment, NDI can lead to death from dehydration, hence your best bet will be to ensure you have constant access to lots of water. Seek medical advice if symptoms don’t improve after a reasonable span of time. Eating fresh fruit, and taking a multivitamin along with receiving treatment, and medications can help keep your health stable!