Know the Difference Between Type 2 Diabetes and Diabetes Insipidus

by on August 20th, 2010
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Conducting an online search about diabetes may seem easy when an individual knows the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. However, a simple online search can become complicated when she encounters the terms type 2 diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus. Both medical conditions are similar symptoms. A person with either one of the medical conditions can suffer from excessive thirst and frequent urination. That, however, is where the similarities end.

Diabetes Insipidus

Diabetes insipidus, also referred to as DI, affects the kidneys ability to conserve water. The kidneys actually work with vasopressin, or antidiuretic hormone (ADH) located in the hypothalamus. When the body functions properly, the kidneys conserve water. However, a lack of ADH causes diabetes insipidus.

Causes of Diabetes Insipidus

Specific medical conditions typically cause diabetes insipidus, commonly called water diabetes– and none of them have to do with blood sugar. When a person suffers a head injury or infection, she can develop diabetes insipidus. Surgery or a tumor can also cause the condition.

Symptoms and Treatment

Like diabetes mellitus, an individual with water diabetes experiences an uncontrollable thirst. She may also crave ice water. Another symptom includes an excessive need to urinate. Typically, the kidneys dispense about 2.5 liters a day. With diabetes insipidus, a person urinates more.

A person with diabetes insipidus must take a tablet or nasal spray vasopressin.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes, a type of diabetes mellitus, affects the pancreas. As a result the pancreas doesn’t respond to the need for insulin and may not produce very much of it. An individual with type 2 diabetes experiences high levels of glucose, also called sugar, in the blood.


Many factors cause the medical condition. Risk factors include family history and lack of physical activity, a poor diet and being overweight.

Symptoms and Treatment

Typically, someone with type 2 diabetes doesn’t experience any symptoms at first. Then slowly, early symptoms occur. These symptoms include increase thirst, excessive urination, fatigue, hunger and slow healing infections.

The main goal of managing type 2 diabetes involves eating healthy and losing weight. If a person needs more help, then a doctor may prescribe medication. The most common medication includes metformin and injectable insulin.

Things to Remember

Type 2 diabetes and diabetes insipidus have few things in common. Diabetes insipidus affects the kidneys and type 2 affects blood sugar. Water diabetes doesn’t occur as often as type 2 diabetes. Regardless of the differences, a person experiencing excessive thirst and urination should consult a doctor.


“Type 2 Diabetes”, Medline Plus,

“Diabetes insipidus”, Medline Plus,

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