Why Does Diabetes Make You So Thirsty?
Excessive thirst, or polydipsia, can be triggered by different factors such as eating too much salt or taking medications that cause dry mouth. Thirst is also a symptom of diabetes. For people with diabetes, thirst can be a sign of hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar. The kidneys play a vital role in regulating levels of blood sugar by filtering the blood and absorbing excess glucose. When very high levels of sugar build up in the blood, the kidneys can’t keep up and they produce more urine than normal — a condition known as polyuria. As a result, you can become dehydrated. “People who have well-controlled diabetes should be at no increased risk for excessive thirst compared with somebody who doesn’t have diabetes,” says Noah Bloomgarden, MD, assistant professor of medicine-endocrinology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and clinical endocrinologist in the division of endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism at the Montefiore Health System in the Bronx, New York. “It’s really poor control of one’s blood sugar and an increase in urination and excretion of water that makes people [with diabetes] feel very thirsty and increases their need to maintain water balance.” As Dr. Bloomgarden points out, even people who are doing a good job of controlling their diabetes can develop very high blood sugar. A cold, infection, or even a very stressful situation can cause blood sugar to rise, and excessive thirst may be the first sign that something is wrong. “If you’re experiencing excessive thirst, you should contact your doctor immediately, because it may indicate severe hyperglycemia,” says Bloomgarden. If you have diabetes and you’re not sure whether you’re unusually thirsty, Bloomgarden suggests that you check your blood sugar. If your blood sug Continue reading >>
Diabetes Symptoms: When Diabetes Symptoms Are A Concern
Diabetes symptoms are often subtle. Here's what to look for — and when to consult your doctor. Early symptoms of diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes, can be subtle or seemingly harmless — that is, if you even have symptoms at all. Over time, however, you may develop diabetes complications, even if you haven't had diabetes symptoms. In the United States alone, more than 8 million people have undiagnosed diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. But you don't need to become a statistic. Understanding possible diabetes symptoms can lead to early diagnosis and treatment — and a lifetime of better health. If you're experiencing any of the following diabetes signs and symptoms, see your doctor. Excessive thirst and increased urination Excessive thirst (also called polydipsia) and increased urination (also known as polyuria) are classic diabetes symptoms. When you have diabetes, excess sugar (glucose) builds up in your blood. Your kidneys are forced to work overtime to filter and absorb the excess sugar. If your kidneys can't keep up, the excess sugar is excreted into your urine, dragging along fluids from your tissues. This triggers more frequent urination, which may leave you dehydrated. As you drink more fluids to quench your thirst, you'll urinate even more. Fatigue You may feel fatigued. Many factors can contribute to this. They include dehydration from increased urination and your body's inability to function properly, since it's less able to use sugar for energy needs. Weight loss Weight fluctuations also fall under the umbrella of possible diabetes signs and symptoms. When you lose sugar through frequent urination, you also lose calories. At the same time, diabetes may keep the sugar from your food from reaching your cells — leading to constant Continue reading >>
What Is Polydipsia?
Drinking plenty of water will usually take care of your thirst. But sometimes, no amount of water seems like enough. You'll drink and drink and drink -- and drink -- and still be thirsty. That's polydipsia. People who have polydipsia will also spend a lot of time in the bathroom. Instead of the 3 quarts most adults will pee out in a day, they can pee out as much as 16 quarts, depending on how much fluid they drink and what's causing their polydipsia. Treatment for it depends on why you have it. You usually get polydipsia as a symptom of other things. Diabetes: Super high blood sugar will make you pee a lot. The more you pee, the more dehydrated and thirstier you get, and the more you drink. Diabetes insipidus: What most people think of when they hear "diabetes" has to do with your pancreas. Diabetes insipidus happens when there's a problem with your kidneys or your pituitary gland, which makes a hormone that helps control how much water your kidneys keep in your body. Mental illness: Some people have an uncontrollable urge to drink water, so they drink it all day even though they don't need to. This is called psychogenic polydipsia. Mental illnesses that can cause polydipsia include: Brain injuries and damage: This could be from diseases like HIV or other illnesses. Drinking too much water can upset the balance of chemistry in your body. Normally you get rid of extra water by peeing, but when your body can't keep up, your blood gets diluted. It could lead to too little sodium in your blood (hyponatremia) with too much water in and around your cells. This condition can damage your organs and bones. It can also cause: Slow reflexes Slurred speech Low energy Confusion As hyponatremia gets worse, you could go into a coma or die. If you've been extremely thirsty for a few da Continue reading >>
Why Does Diabetes Cause Excessive Urination And Thirst? A Lesson On Osmosis
A TABA Seminar on Diabetes I have the pleasure of being an executive member of the Toronto Applied Biostatistics Association (TABA), a volunteer-run professional organization here in Toronto that organizes seminars on biostatistics. During this past Tuesday, Dr. Loren Grossman from the LMC Diabetes and Endocrinology Centre generously donated his time to deliver an introductory seminar on diabetes for biostatisticians. The Institute for Clinical and Evaluative Sciences (ICES) at Sunnybrook Hospital kindly hosted us and provided the venue for the seminar. As a chemist and a former pre-medical student who studied physiology, I really enjoyed this intellectual treat, especially since Loren was clear, informative, and very knowledgeable about the subject. Diabetes Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases that are characterized by a high concentration of glucose in the bloodstream. Glucose is a common monomer of carbohydrates that exists in many foods, including bread, pasta, rice, fruits, vegetables, and refined sugar. It provides the fuel for the cells of our bodies to function. Chemical Structures of Open-Chain and Cyclic Glucose For a variety of reasons that distinguish the different types of diabetes, diabetics cannot absorb glucose normally, leaving an excess of glucose in the bloodstream. Diabetes leads to many health problems, like kidney failure, blindness, heart attacks and strokes. The Growing Prevalence of Diabetes It was interesting but sad for me to learn about the increased prevalence of diabetes in North America and around the world. Loren commented that diabetes was a specialized niche area in endocrinology when he began his research in this field over 25 years ago, but it is now a major area of study in medical research because of its epidemic proportions. Continue reading >>
Diabetes occurs when there is a dis-balance between the demand and production of the hormone insulin. Control of blood sugar When food is taken, it is broken down into smaller components. Sugars and carbohydrates are thus broken down into glucose for the body to utilize them as an energy source. The liver is also able to manufacture glucose. In normal persons the hormone insulin, which is made by the beta cells of the pancreas, regulates how much glucose is in the blood. When there is excess of glucose in blood, insulin stimulates cells to absorb enough glucose from the blood for the energy that they need. Insulin also stimulates the liver to absorb and store any excess glucose that is in the blood. Insulin release is triggered after a meal when there is a rise in blood glucose. When blood glucose levels fall, during exercise for example, insulin levels fall too. High insulin will promote glucose uptake, glycolysis (break down of glucose), and glycogenesis (formation of storage form of glucose called glycogen), as well as uptake and synthesis of amino acids, proteins, and fat. Low insulin will promote gluconeogenesis (breakdown of various substrates to release glucose), glycogenolysis (breakdown of glycogen to release gluose), lipolysis (breakdown of lipids to release glucose), and proteolysis (breakdown of proteins to release glucose). Insulin acts via insulin receptors. Liver Adipose or fat Tissue Muscle High insulin Glycolysis Glycogenesis Triglyceride synthesis Amino acid uptake Protein synthesis Low insulin Gluconeogenesis Glycogenolysis Lipolysis Proteolysis Normal Responses to Eating and Fasting In a fed state: there is increased insulin secretion, causing glycolysis, glycogen storage, fatty acid synthesis/storage, and protein synthesis. After an overnight fast: Continue reading >>
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Polydipsia: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment
Polydipsia is the medical term for extreme thirst, which does not improve no matter how much a person drinks. It is not a disease by itself but can be an important symptom of certain health problems, such as diabetes. People who have this symptom should always see a doctor. This article aims to help readers understand polydipsia and how to manage it. What is polydipsia? Everyone knows the feeling of thirst. For example, a person may drink large amounts of fluid to relieve thirst brought on after eating salty food, strenuous exercise, or a day in the hot sun. This type of thirst usually doesn't last long and is easily quenched with fluids. Polydipsia, on the other hand, can last days, weeks, or even longer depending on the cause. An individual with polydipsia tends to be thirsty most if not all the time, despite regularly drinking large amounts of fluid. Comments such as "I can't get enough to drink" or "my mouth is so dry" are possible indicators that the person has polydipsia. Polyuria (large amounts of urine) almost always accompanies polydipsia. One of the kidneys' primary jobs is to help the body find the right balance of water and other fluids. Polyuria is defined as passing 3 or more liters of urine in 24 hours in adults. The kidneys also pass more than fluid. For example, sodium and potassium often leave the body along with urine. This can lead to changes in these salts in the body, which can introduce other problems. While other symptoms found with polydipsia depend on its cause, a common symptom is a dry mouth. How much water should I drink every day? How much water a person needs depends on how healthy they are, how much they exercise, and where they live. There is not one set amount of water that fits everyone. People can determine how much fluid they drink b Continue reading >>
Why Does Diabetes Cause Polydipsia And Polyuria?
Polyuria, Polydipsia and Polyphagia are the three main features of diabetes . But. How does it occur? Large amount of excess glucose in the renal filtrate, acts as “solutes”. The concentration of solutes in the kidney filtrate is higher than the solute concentration in the blood. So now, all that water with excess glucose, that should actually be reabsorbed, is excreted out- leading to Polyuria. Remnant glucose in the urine, results in Glycosuria. Now obviously your body has to do something about it. So to replace the lost water, intracellular fluids are transported to the extracellular compartment osmotically- leading to dehydration and increased thirst- i.e., Polydipsia. There is glucose in your blood, but your cells cannot use them. This leads them to think they are starving- hence the hunger pangs, i.e., Polyphagia . Continue reading >>
Why Does Diabetes Cause Excessive Thirst?
7 0 We’ve written before about the signs and symptoms of diabetes. While there are a lot of sources about what symptoms diabetes causes, and even some good information about why they’re bad for you, what you don’t often get are the “whys”. And while the “whys” aren’t necessarily critical for your long-term health, they can help you to understand what’s going on with your body and why it acts the way it does. That, in turn, can help with acceptance and understanding of how to better treat the symptoms, which in turn can help you stay on a good diabetes management regimen. In short, you don’t NEED to know why diabetes causes excessive thirst, but knowing the mechanism behind it can make your blood glucose control regimen make more sense and help you stick to it. So why DOES diabetes cause thirst? First, we’d like to start by saying that excessive thirst is not a good indicator of diabetes. For many people, the symptom creeps up so slowly that it’s almost impossible to determine if your thirst has noticeably increased (unless you keep a spreadsheet of how much water you drink, in which case you also probably get tested pretty regularly anyway). It’s also a common enough symptom that a sudden increase in thirst can mean almost anything. Some conditions that cause thirst increases include allergies, the flu, the common cold, almost anything that causes a fever, and dehydration caused by vomiting or diarrhea. So while excessive thirst is one of those diabetes symptoms that happens, and needs to be addressed, it’s not always a great sign that you should immediately go out and get an A1C test. Why does diabetes cause thirst? Excessive thirst, when linked to another condition as a symptom or comorbidity, is called polydipsia. It’s usually one of the Continue reading >>
For the term formerly used in reference to compulsive drinking of alcohol, see Dipsomania. Polydipsia is excessive thirst or excess drinking. The word derives from the Greek πολυδίψιος (poludípsios) "very thirsty", which is derived from πολύς (polús, "much, many") + δίψα (dípsa, "thirst"). Polydipsia is a nonspecific symptom in various medical disorders. It also occurs as an abnormal behaviour in some non-human animals, such as in birds. Causes This symptom is characteristically found in diabetics, often as one of the initial symptoms, and in those who fail to take their anti-diabetic medications or whose condition is poorly controlled. It can also be caused by a change in the osmolality of the extracellular fluids of the body, hypokalemia, decreased blood volume (as occurs during major hemorrhage), and other conditions that create a water deficit. This is usually a result of osmotic diuresis. Diabetes insipidus ("tasteless" diabetes, as opposed to diabetes mellitus) can also cause polydipsia. Polydipsia is also a symptom of anticholinergic poisoning. Zinc is also known to reduce symptoms of polydipsia by causing the body to absorb fluids more efficiently (reduction of diarrhea, induces constipation) and it causes the body to retain more sodium; thus a zinc deficiency can be a possible cause. The combination of polydipsia and (nocturnal) polyuria is also seen in (primary) hyperaldosteronism (which often goes with hypokalemia). Antipsychotics can have side effects such as dry mouth that may make the patient feel thirsty. Psychogenic and non-psychogenic primary polydipsia Main article: Primary polydipsia Primary polydipsia describes excessive thirst and water intake caused in the absence of physiological stimuli to drink. T Continue reading >>
formerly known as Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM). characterized by hyperglycemia due to an absolute deficiency of the insulin hormone produced by the pancreas. patients require lifelong insulin injections for survival. usually develops in children and adolescents (although can occur later in life). may present with severe symptoms such as coma or ketoacidosis. patients are usually not obese with this type of diabetes, but obesity is not incompatible with the diagnosis. patients are at increased risk of developing microvascular and macrovascular complications. Etiology usually (but not always) caused by autoimmune destruction of the beta cells of the pancreas, with the presence of certain antibodies in blood. a complex disease caused by mutations in more than one gene, as well as by environmental factors. Symptoms increased urinary frequency (polyuria), thirst (polydipsia), hunger (polyphagia), and unexplained weight loss. numbness in extremities, pain in feet (disesthesias), fatigue, and blurred vision. recurrent or severe infections. loss of consciousness or severe nausea/vomiting (ketoacidosis) or coma. Ketoacidosis more common in T1D than in T2D. Diagnosis diagnosis is made by the presence of classic symptoms of hyperglycemia and an abnormal blood test. a plasma glucose concentration >=7 mmol/L (or 126 mg/dL) or >=11.1mmol/L ( or 200mg/dL) 2 hours after a 75g glucose drink. in a patient without classic symptoms, diagnosis can also be made by two abnormal blood tests on separate days. in most settings (although not always available in resource-poor countries), another test called HbA1C is done to approximate metabolic control over previous 2-3 months and to guide treatment decisions. Treatment overall aim of treatment is symptom relief and prevention or de Continue reading >>
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Polydipsia – Symptom Of Diabetes
Polydipsia is the term for excessive thirst. Polydipsia can happen as a result of high sugar levels and is therefore one of the symptoms of diabetes. If you have diabetes and recurrent thirst, it could be a sign that your sugar levels are running too high. Causes of polydipsia Strong thirst, polydipsia, may be caused by factors such as: Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels) as a result of diabetes mellitus Vomiting Diarrhea Diabetes insipidus Kidney disease Medications including diuretics When to see your doctor If you have recurrent thirst that comes back despite drinking water, it is important to see your doctor as it could indicate a health problem. Polydipsia in people with diabetes If you have type 1 diabetes, it’s important to test your sugar levels and, if your sugar levels are above 15 mmol/l, to test for ketones as well. Contact your health team if you have high ketone levels or you struggle to get your sugar levels back to normal. If you have type 2 diabetes and have a blood glucose testing kit, it can help to test your sugar levels to see whether your sugar levels are regularly going too high. If you are struggling to keep your sugar levels under control or have regular thirst, it’s important to let your doctor know. How diabetes can lead to polydipsia When blood glucose levels are high, the body will try to pass glucose out of the blood through the urine and this will mean passing out more urine than normal. One consequence of this is that the body will need to take in more water to replace the water it’s passing out as urine and therefore we feel the signs of thirst. Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder that is characterized by high levels of glucose in the bloodstream which leads to hyperglycemia if untreated. It is strongly linked to obesity an Continue reading >>
A Practitioner's Plea: Keep It Simple
In a technologically simpler but no less sophisticated time, Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine,” was the first to diagnose diabetes mellitus. Hippocrates' diagnostic tools were straightforward and accurate—a history of polyuria, polydipsia, and polyphagia coupled with a sweet taste to the patient's urine. This clinical approach sufficed for almost 2,500 years. Fast-forward to the twentieth century. The detection of sugar in the urine and blood by simple chemical analysis has been followed by increasingly sophisticated tests to diagnose diabetes (for the purpose of this discussion, diabetes will refer only to type II diabetes) and assess its control—first the glucose tolerance test and then the glycated hemoglobin. While there is no doubt that these tests have greatly advanced medical science's understanding of the pathophysiology of diabetes and its complications, they create problems for the practicing physician: How do we explain the results to our patients, and what do they mean, in terms of patient management? Call me from the “old school” if you want, but as a practicing clinician, my comfort level in diagnosing disease is highest when the diagnosis is linked to objective signs, symptoms, and pathology, and lowest when the diagnosis is defined solely by laboratory results that deviate one or two standard deviations from the statistical mean. In our diligence not to miss possible cases of diabetes we may order glucose tolerance tests to evaluate equivocal fasting sugar results. The glucose tolerance test has an aura of infallibility among clinicians as a defining test for diabetes. But by what “gold standard” do we interpret this test? That is, how do we know that diabetes is present, in the absence of signs and symptoms resulting from hyperglycem Continue reading >>
Tweet Polydipsia is the term given to excessive thirst and is one of the initial symptoms of diabetes. It is also usually accompanied by temporary or prolonged dryness of the mouth. We all get thirsty at various times during the day. Adequate daily intake of water (several glasses) is very important as water is essential for many bodily functions, including regulating body temperature and removing waste. However, if you feel thirsty all the time or your thirst is stronger than usual and continues even after you drink, it can be a sign that not all is well inside your body. Causes of polydipsia Increased thirst is often the reaction to fluid loss during exercise, or to eating salty or spicy foods. It can also be caused by: Diarrhoea Vomiting Profuse sweating Significant blood loss or Certain prescription medications Increased thirst can also occur as a result of high blood sugar levels in people with diabetes or yet to be diagnosed diabetes. Persistent excessive thirst can be the result of one of the following: Diabetes mellitus Diabetes insipidus - a condition unrelated to diabetes mellitus that affects the kidneys and the hormones that interact with them, resulting in large quantities of urine being produced Loss of body fluids from the bloodstream into the tissues due to: burns or severe infections (sepsis) or heart, liver, or kidney failure Psychogenic polydipsia - compulsive water drinking associated with mental/psychiatric disorders Excessive thirst can be caused by high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), and is also one of the ‘Big 3’ signs of diabetes mellitus. Increased thirst and diabetes Increased thirst in people with diabetes can sometimes be, but certainly not always, an indication of higher than normal blood glucose levels. People with diabetes with access t Continue reading >>
Polydipsia (excessive Thirst)
Polydipsia is a medical name for the feeling of extreme thirstiness. Polydipsia is often linked to urinary conditions that cause you to urinate a lot. This can make your body feel a constant need to replace the fluids lost in urination. It can also be caused by physical processes that cause you to lose a lot of fluid. This can include sweating during exercise, eating a high-salt diet, or taking drugs that cause you to pass a lot of fluid, such as diuretics. This condition is considered one of the earliest symptoms of diabetes. It’s especially common in diabetes mellitus. This type of diabetes includes a few conditions that make it harder for your body to process and use glucose, also called blood sugar. When your body can’t properly digest blood sugars, your blood sugar levels can get abnormally high. High blood sugar levels can cause you to feel extremely thirst as a result. Polydipsia can be caused simply by not drinking enough water after you lose a lot of fluid. If you sweat a lot or drink certain fluids, such as coffee or green and black tea, you’ll often feel extremely thirsty as your body seeks to replace the fluid that’s been lost. Dehydration due to not drinking enough water is also a common cause of polydipsia. You can feel this whether or not you’ve been sweating or urinating a lot. Polyuria, a condition in which you pass abnormally large amounts of urine, can also cause polydipsia. Polydipsia is also an early symptom of diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus. Diabetes mellitus causes polydipsia because your blood sugar levels get too high and make you feel thirsty, regardless of how much water you drink. Diabetes insipidus occurs when your body’s fluid levels are out of balance. Even though you may drink a lot of water, you still may feel an ur Continue reading >>
The basic defect in all patients with diabetes is the decreased ability of insulin to induce cells of the body to remove glucose (sugar) molecules from the blood. Whether this decreased insulin activity is due to a decreased amount of insulin produced (type 1 diabetes), or from the insensitivity of the cells to a normal amount of insulin (type 2 diabetes), the results are the same: blood glucose levels which are too high. This is termed "hyperglycemia" which means "high glucose in the blood." hyper = high, glyc = glucose, and emia = of the blood. What happens when you have hyperglycemia? Common Symptoms of Hyperglycemia The Classic Symptoms Polyphagia (frequently hungry) Polyuria (frequently urinating) Polydipsia (frequently thirsty) Other Symptoms Might Include Blurred vision Fatigue Weight loss Poor wound healing (cuts, scrapes, etc.) Dry mouth Dry or itchy skin Impotence (male) Recurrent infections such as vaginal yeast infections, groin rash, or external ear infections (swimmers ear) It is important to remember that not everyone with diabetes will have all these symptoms. In fact, many people with type 2 diabetes may not have any of them. Who can develop hyperglycemia? To learn about other diabetes complications and how to prevent them, see our type 1 diabetes complications and type 2 diabetes complications articles. The classic symptom of being hungry frequently stems from the fact that a person with diabetes cannot utilize glucose well as an energy source within cells. The glucose is circulating in the blood, but the cells can't absorb it to use it as a fuel. The excess blood sugar molecules also "spill" into the urine, meaning that as the blood filters through the kidneys, some of the sugar comes out of the blood and is not reabsorbed. The extra sugar which is no Continue reading >>