Central diabetes insipidus
Central diabetes insipidus is a rare condition that involves extreme thirst and excessive urination.
See also: Diabetes insipidus - nephrogenic
Central diabetes insipidus occurs when the body has too little of the hormone vasopressin.
Vasopressin limits the amount of urine the body produces. Normally, the hypothalamus gland in the brain makes vasopressin, and the pituitary gland stores the hormone. Without vasopressin, the kidneys do not work properly to keep enough water in the body. The result is a rapid loss of water from the body in the form of dilute urine. A person with diabetes insipidus needs to drink large quantities of water, driven by extreme thirst, to make up for this excessive water loss in the urine (as much as 20 liters per day).
The reduced levels of vasopressin associated with central diabetes insipidus may be caused by damage to the hypothalamus or pituitary gland. This damage may be related to surgery, infection, inflammation, tumor, or injury to the head.
Sometimes the cause remains unknown. Very rarely, central diabetes insipidus can be caused by a genetic defect.
Verbalis JG. Posterior pituitary. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 243.
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