Diabetes Insipidus VS Diabetes Mellitus: Everything You Must Know

By Nikita Banerjee +2 more

Diabetes can be classified into two categories: Diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus. Both have serious consequences, though they are entirely different from each other. Let’s take a look at both of them and understand the differences.

Diabetes Insipidus

Diabetes Insipidus is a rare disease. It is caused when there are problems related to ADH (Anti Diuretic Hormone). Someone with diabetes insipidus suffers from excessive urination. There is no increase in the blood glucose levels, unlike diabetes mellitus. A series of tests are needed to diagnose the condition. If left untreated, the condition can cause kidney damage and chronic kidney disease.

Diabetes insipidus vs Diabetes Mellitus

Due to excessive urination, the person feels an increased thirst leading to excessive fluid consumption. Patients are at risk of suffering from dehydration. It is of four types:

  1. Central Diabetes Insipidus
  2. Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus
  3. Dipsogenic Diabetes Insipidus
  4. Gestational Diabetes Insipidus

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes mellitus is the more common form of diabetes. It causes elevated sugar levels in the blood. The body breaks down food into glucose that is the fuel for the cells for carrying out regular metabolic processes. When the body cannot process this glucose efficiently, it leads to high sugar levels that have serious health complications like kidney failure, vision loss, and amputations.

Diabetes mellitus is of two types.

  1. Type 1 Diabetes- In this, the pancreas, which is the seat of insulin production, do not produce enough insulin. This leads to high glucose levels.
  2. Type 2 Diabetes- In this, the body becomes resistant to the insulin present, and the cells are unable to use this insulin. It happens due to genetic and environmental factors. Most people who get this diabetes begin to suffer after hitting 40 years. The majority of diabetes cases are of this kind.

Read More: Difference Between Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes

The symptoms of diabetes mellitus include increased thirst and hunger, excessive urination, frequent vaginal yeast infections, slow healing of cuts and scrapes, and tingling and numbness in the feet. The disease is treated by medications that control the sugar levels and by providing synthetic insulin in the body. A healthy diet, regular exercise, weight loss and timely administration of medication are the recommended course of treatment.

Diabetes Insipidus vs Diabetes Mellitus: In A Nutshell

Diabetes InsipidusDiabetes Mellitus
Caused by problems in hypothalamusCaused by problems in the pancreas
Caused by deficiency of ADHCaused by a deficiency of insulin hormone
Glucose levels are not elevatedglucose levels are elevated
Urine doesn’t have glucose presentUrine has glucose present
Urine is much diluted. It has no odourUrine of normal concentration
Excessive urinationUrination much lesser than in diabetes insipidus
No increase in blood cholesterolIncrease in blood cholesterol
Eating patterns do not changeEating patterns change with excessive hunger
Negative results when tested for ketone bodies in urinePositive results when tested for ketone bodies in urine

Both, diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus need urgent medical intervention. Consult your doctor if you suffer from any of these symptoms.

Diabetes insipidus is quite rare compared to diabetes mellitus. Diabetes insipidus commonly seen post head injury , brain surgery and brain cancer.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

Diabetes Diet Plan

A diabetes diet plan includes healthy food items in moderate items during regular meal times. The food items included in this diet should be naturally rich in nutrients, and low in fat and calories.  


The key elements that go into making a proper diet plan for diabetes are vegetables, fruits and whole grains. In fact, people with borderline diabetes or who have a family history should follow this diet as a part of a healthy meal plan.

Poorly controlled or uncontrolled diabetes insipidus may lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance and this might specifically be harmful if it happens during pregnancy. Keep a caution and visit your gynecologist for any associated symptoms

Dr. Ashish Bajaj, M.B.B.S., M.D.
  • Healthy carbs: During the digestion process, sugars (simple carbs) and starch (complex carbs) break down into blood glucose. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, wheat, legume like beans and peas, and low-fat dairy products like milk and cheese are considered healthy carbs. Food rich in sodium and added sugar is ideally avoided in the making of a diabetes diet plan.
  • Fibre-rich food: Dietary fibres are those parts of the plants that the body doesn’t digest, yet foods rich in dietary fibre keep you fuller for a longer period of time. Fibre-rich foods whole grains, nuts, vegetables and legumes keep your blood sugar level in check.
  • Fish: Heart-healthy fishes like salmon, tuna and sardines are rich in Omega-3 which should be included in your diabetes diet at least thrice a week. Fishes rich in fat like king mackerel are not included in diabetes or prediabetes meal plans as set by your dietician.
  • Good fats: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats keep your cholesterol levels in check, which can spike if you are diabetic. Avocados, nuts and using olive oil, canola oil and peanut oil may be used in cooking. However, it should be consumed in moderation as all fats contain high calories.

Food to avoid in diabetes diet

Diabetes may increase the chances of heart-related ailments and stroke by accelerating the development of hardened artillery or blocking them. Foods containing the following can work against your goal of having a proper, balanced diabetes meal plan:

  • Saturated fat: Sausages, bacon, beef, butter.
  • Trans fat: processed fat, baked food items.
  • Cholesterol-triggering foods: a high-fat animal protein like egg yolks, liver or other animal body parts.
  • Sodium: A meal plan for diabetic patients should include less than 2000 mg sodium daily. For patients with high blood pressure, it should be even lower.

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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