Do you know the difference between Diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus? If you don’t, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. 

Keep reading to learn the difference between diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus in this article.  

Diabetes mellitus is the full name of diabetes. Diabetes happens when the body either produces too little insulin or produces defective insulin that controls blood sugar levels in your body, resulting in an increase in blood sugar levels. If you don’t manage your blood sugar levels in the initial stages it leads to further health issues such as obesity, blood vessel damage, nerve damage, kidney problems, heart disease or stroke, etc.  

On the other hand, Diabetes Insipidus is a rare condition that affects the kidney’s ability to hold water in the body, making you pee very frequently. The urine is colorless and odorless and a lot of peeing makes you extremely thirsty and in severe cases, dehydrated. It happens when the body does not produce enough vasopressin hormone or makes a defective hormone that fails to send the signals to control the kidneys which results in too much peeing. Although it does not have a cure it is easily treatable and does not produce further health issues in general.  


Even though their names and symptoms are the same, the causes and treatments are quite different.  

  • Cause 

Cause of diabetes mellitus  

Diabetes mellitus happens when blood sugar levels are on the rise. Diabetes affects the pancreas (which produces insulin hormone) in the body to control blood sugar levels. Diabetes takes away the pancreas’s ability to produce insulin. Either pancreas produces too little insulin hormone or defective insulin, both result in not being able to control blood sugar levels in the body.  

Cause of diabetes insipidus 

On the other hand, diabetes insipidus is an exceedingly rare disease that does not increase blood sugar levels, but it affects the vasopressin hormone or ADH (Antidiuretic hormone) which signals or controls the kidney’s ability to hold and release the water in the body. It can happen when the body produces less vasopressin hormone or defective vasopressin that the kidneys don’t respond to.  

  • Symptoms  

Both share similar symptoms.  

Diabetes Mellitus Symptoms 

  • Frequent urination 
  • Sudden weight loss 
  • Extreme hunger 
  • Blurry vision 
  • Tingling or numbness particularly in hands or feet. 
  • Tired all the time 
  • Dry skin 
  • Feel irritated and have mood swings  
  • Slow healing sores 
  • Infections like skin or fungal infections 

Diabetes Insipidus Symptoms 

  • Frequent urination 
  • Dehydration 
  • Feeling tired  
  • Dizziness 
  • Dry mouth especially lips and eyes
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Fainting 



Treatment is totally different from each other.  

Diabetes mellitus treatment 

Diabetes mellitus treatment is done through medications. Its treatment depends on the type of diabetes you are suffering from. The important thing while treating diabetes is to maintain the blood sugar levels within normal range or avoid further complications.  

  • To treat type 1 diabetes, doctors use insulin injections and pumps, regularly monitoring blood sugar levels and carbohydrate/calorie counting. For some people, pancreas transplant or islet cell transplant surgery might be an option.  
  • To treat type 2 diabetes, doctors recommend taking medications, insulin and making lifestyle changes to maintain blood sugar levels in their bodies.  
  • Medications such as metformin and SGLT2 inhibitors are used. SGLT2 inhibitors prevent the kidney from reabsorbing filtered sugar from the blood instead of removing it from the urine. Metformin blocks the stomach enzymes that break the carbohydrates slowing the absorption so that it does less effect on the insulin hormone.  
  • Monitoring the blood sugar levels and changes in lifestyle includes exercise, enough quality sleep, eating recommended food items, avoiding smoking and alcohol, etc.  

Diabetes Insipidus Treatment 

Treatment depends on the type of diabetes insipidus you have.  

  • For central and gestational diabetes insipidus, desmopressin medications are used. It is used to control urine output, maintain water levels, and prevent dehydration. You need to take it 2 to 3 times a day. It is available in the form of injections, nasal spray, and pills. 
  •  In case of gestational diabetes insipidus, take this medicine until your delivery and after that your problems go away.  
  • Treating nephrogenic diabetes insipidus is complicated and needs combinations of different approaches. Often medications such as thiazide diuretic, amiloride or hydrochlorothiazide reduce your frequent urination. Your health provider tries different combinations of medications until he finds the right one to treat you.  

Both diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus are quite different from each other. They might share names and symptoms. But both develop by completely different causes, and one is easily treatable and manageable while the other is not. But it’s important that whenever you notice the symptoms of any of these diseases you should visit the doctor to take prompt treatment to manage them well.  

Want to know how you can diagnose diabetes mellitus or diabetes insipidus? Call us at 718-DORAL-55 to schedule an appointment at our clinic.