Extreme urination continues throughout the day and the night. In children, DI can interfere with appetite, eating, weight gain and growth, as well. They may present with fever, vomiting or diarrhea. Adults with untreated DI may remain healthy for decades as long as enough water is consumed to offset the urinary losses. However, there is a continuous risk of dehydration and loss of potassium that may lead to hypokalemia.
The patient, physician, nurse, and dietician must carefully evaluate the patient's life style, nutritional needs, and ability to comply with the proposed dietary prescription. There are a variety of meal planning systems that can be used by the patient with diabetes; each has benefits and drawbacks that need to be evaluated in order to maximize compliance. Two of the most frequently used ones are the exchange system (see accompanying table) and the carbohydrate counting system.
At the end of the test, a health care provider will compare the patient's blood sodium, vasopressin levels, and urine concentration to determine whether the patient has diabetes insipidus. Sometimes, the health care provider may administer medications during the test to see if they increase a patient's urine concentration. In other cases, the health care provider may give the patient a concentrated sodium solution intravenously at the end of the test to increase the patient's blood sodium level and determine if he or she has diabetes insipidus.