Untreated diabetes

Untreated diabetes often leads to a number of symptoms that significantly affects the quality of life among patients suffering from type 1 diabetes mellitus. Peripheral edema especially around the eyes and feet, microalbuminuria, diabetic retinopathy, reduced visual acuity and biochemical fasting are among the complications that make individuals suffering from diabetes to lead uncomfortable lives (Wang & Hirschberg, 2008). In advanced stages, untreated diabetes leads to diabetic nephropathy which affects the kidneys.

In the paper, a detailed account of nephropathy and its relationship with untreated diabetes will be discussed. The question why high serum glucose causes polyuria and polydipsia will be answered will be the main discussion of the paper. Why does high serum glucose cause polyuria? Polydispsia? Untreated diabetes sometimes leads to wide-ranging symptoms, some of which may not be identified easily with diabetes unless a good understanding of the disease is established.

Advanced diabetes resulting from untreated diabetes conditions eventually affect the kidneys causing a condition known as diabetic nephropathy (Wang & Hirschberg, 2008). Diabetic nephropathy is entirely caused by the collapse of glucose regulation which results into a build-up of serum glucose causing individuals to feel intense thirst (polydispsia) and pass out large amounts of urine (polyuria). Polyuria and polydispsia are conditions typical to both diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus.

Elevated levels of serum glucose can cause toxic damage to the renal tubular thus reducing renal efficiency leading to polyuria. In diabetes mellitus, cells fail to utilize the available glucose due to absence of insulin or deranged insulin receptors. The unutilized glucose accumulates in the blood until the kidneys identify the glucose as an excretory waste. This stage is called the renal threshold. Further accumulation of serum glucose exceeds the renal threshold and starts entering the urinary tract causing glucose-induced osmotic dieresis.

Water gets attracted into the urinary tract causing excessive formation of urine hence polyuria (Wang & Hirschberg, 2008). Elevated concentrations of serum glucose (hyperglycemia) in type I diabetes mellitus cause feelings of thirst (polydispsia) in untreated diabetes. The condition is closely related to polyuria because it is triggered by excessive loss of water from the body (Weiss, 2005). The individual suffering from diabetes mellitus experiences serious thirst because as the kidneys reach the renal threshold, enormous amounts of sugars are absorbed into urine which water re-absorption back into the bloodstream.

This feedback mechanism is to compensate for the increased need of water necessary for flushing off the sugars from the system hence causing serious dehydration and feeling of thirst.


Wang, S. , Mitu, G. M. , & Hirschberg, R. (2008). Osmotic polyuria: an overlooked mechanism in diabetic nephropathy. Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation. 23(7): 2167-2172. Weiss , G. J. (2005). Non-Psychogenic Polydipsia With Hyponatremia . The Internet Journal of Nephrology. 2 ( 1). Retrieved May 18, 2010 from: http://www. ispub. com/ostia/index. php? xmlFilePath=journals/ijne/vol2n1/hyponatremia. x ml

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