Excessive thirst – first signs of diabetes

glass of water - excessive thirst - polydipsia  - diabetes

Excessive thirst is one of the first signs of diabetes. It is like having a never ending unquenchable thirst.

Some diabetics actually wake up in the middle of the night to drink water or other fluids (juices).

The anti diuretic hormone (ADH) or vasopressin is responsible for the maintenance of fluid balance in the body.

Its main job is to monitor the body fluid needs by forcing you to feel thirsty when the body loses water through sweat and urination. This is in an effort to prevent dehydration.

Dehydration is a complication of diabetes if water and electrolyte is not replenished. There are a number of reasons for the feeling of extreme thirst to persist. These reasons include:

Excessive physical activity

When we do physical activity, like running the London marathon, the body lose water through sweat (perspiration). This lost of fluids and electrolyte needs to be replenished.

Psychogenic polydipsia

This is the excessive drinking of water without a physiological stimulus or a reason to drink. There is no problem with this unless it is excessive and hyponatraemia supervenes.

Hyponatraemia is an electrolyte disturbance where the salt in the blood is lower than normal. GPNotebook 3/8/2009.

Diabetes insipidus

Diabetes insipidus is where there is increased intake of fluids. This intake of water could be as a result of abnormalities in the part of the brain that regulates thirst. This type of diabetes is called dipsogenic diabetes insipidus.

Diabetes mellitus

Diabetes mellitus causes extra thirst sensations to compel you to replenish the fluids expelled by the kidneys in an effort to rid the body of unused excessive glucose.

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