Know the Difference :Diabetes Mellitus Vs Diabetes Insipidus



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There has been a global rise in the prevalence of diabetes in recent times. This year WHO had  it focus on diabetes for the 2016 World Health Day. In this post we would look at the difference between diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus which is uncommon.

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by hyperglycemia(increased blood glucose),polyuria (excessive  and frequent urination),polydipsia(excessive thirst) and polyphagia (increased appetite).This is caused by under secretion of insulin by the beta cells of the pancreas or lack of insulin.

In general term diabetes refers to  ‘’diabetes mellitus’’  of which there are 3 types ; type I diabetes ,type II diabetes and gestational diabetes. Diabetes insipidus is a very uncommon type of diabetes.

While the names diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus sound similar, they are not the same.

Type I Diabetes

It occurs due to an autoimmune destruction of beta cells of the pancreas resulting in deficient production of insulin by the pancreas. It can occur at any age but is most common in children and young adults. It is characterized by insulin deficiency in the body.

Type II Diabetes

This is the most common form of diabetes in the world. It is a long term metabolic disorder that is characterized by high blood sugar,insulin resistance, and relative lack of insulin.It contributes to 90 percent of cases of diabetes

Gestational diabetes

It is a condition characterised by an elevated blood sugar above normal that develops at any time during pregnancy in a woman who does not have diabetes prior to pregnancy.

Diabetes mellitus is diagnosed when an individual has a fasting plasma glucose level of over 7.0 mmol/l, plasma glucose of over 11.1 mmol/l two hours after a 75g oral glucose intake, or glycated hemoglobin of more than 6.5%.

Diabetes mellitus has long-term complications if it poor managed. It doubles the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease, as well as chronic kidney disease.

Diabetes Insipidus

It is a rare form of diabetes caused by a deficiency of the pituitary hormone vasopressin, which regulates kidney function.

Diabetes insipidus is characterized by extreme thirst (especially for cold water ) and excessive urination. However, the urine does not contain glucose.

There is no cure for diabetes,however it can be treated to relieve you of high volumes of urine output.

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Understanding BMI:Body Mass Index and your Weight part_2

BMI is used by health professionals to give an estimate  of your body fat.Due to it non invasive nature it is widely used. BMI is useful as one among the myriad of screening tools to determine the appropriateness of a person’s weight.To figure out how to calculate your BMI Click here.

BMI just like any screening tool has  its own limitations.Because it doesn’t directly measure your fat, it is not the most reliable or valid way of determining body fat levels.It is therefore skewed in muscular individuals.


1.BMI does not take into account muscle mass

A individual such  as an athlete or bodybuilder may have his or her weight higher than normal.This increased weight is due increased muscle mass,however  their increased BMI may make it appear as  though they are obese.

2.BMI is not gender sensitive.

BMI  does not differentiate between a male and female,although men tend to be more muscular and have a larger frame. Due to this a man and a woman may have the same BMI, but the woman would likely have a higher percentage of body fat than the male.Women generally have a higher adipose than men due to their hormonal changes and body make up.

3.BMI does not take into account body fat distribution

For example, a person’s waist circumference can be used to determine their amount of visceral fat which is located around vital internal organs and often serves as an indicator of an  increased risk of  chronic disease.

BMI range interpretation


Should I continue to use the BMI as a measure of how healthy I am?

BMI is widely used by many due to it non invasive nature and how easy it is  to figure out.

Although the alternative measures of body fat including  waist circumference measurement,skinfold measurement and bioelectrical impedance are useful,they tend to be more expensive, invasive and  difficult to standardize due to human error.

Regardless of your BMI number, remember it is just a part of the whole picture.

Consult your dietitian to know the right tool to assess your body fat tailored to your need.

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Understanding BMI:Body Mass Index and your Weight part_1

Many at times people who are conscious of their health and want to maintain a healthy weight confuse their weight status with their weight.The fact that you weigh 70 kg and a colleague of yours weighs 59 kg doesn’t imply you are  overweight or your friend is underweight.Our true weight status is revealed by our body mass index(BMI).

Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on your weight in relation to your height, and applies to most adult men and women aged 20 and over.

It is used as a screening tool to indicate whether a person is underweight, overweight, obese or a normal weight with respect to their height.

This is how your body mass index is calculated

Body Mass Index Calculation
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Alternatively you can calculate your body mass index with the formula below:

          BMI =    Weight in kilograms   /   Height in metres2

The formula in metric units for BMI = Weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared.


Your BMI can be a great indicator to know your weight status and significant health risks.

BMI range interpretation

Keep in mind that BMI  is only a guide. It is not a tool to determine ideal body weight. It is a tool to help you monitor if your weight is increasing your risk for disease.

Part 2 of this post would look at some discrepancies with the BMI and also  BMI and Body fat.

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