What is Excess Thirst?Excessive thirst is a common symptom and medically termed as polydipsia. It is a condition that results in extreme fluid loss from the body. It is a characteristic of several conditions that deplete water from the body. Excessive urination, diarrhea, vomiting and sweating can cause excessive thirst. Total body water comprises approximately 45–75% of a person’s body weight. Research suggests that the sensation of thirst is triggered with a body water loss of 1–2%.
Here are some of the most common causes of excessive thirst:
What are the Reasons for Excessive Thirst?
Diabetes Mellitus is a disorder of blood glucose regulation that results from a deficiency in the action of the hormone insulin resulting in an increase in blood glucose levels. When glucose level is about 200 mg/dL or above, the kidney loses its normal ability to reuptake glucose from water. Eventually, a high osmotic pressure builds up in kidneys where water can no longer be absorbed back into the bloodstream. This makes a person constantly thirsty. Another condition called Diabetes Insipidus that is unrelated to diabetes mellitus affects the kidneys and the hormones that interact with them. This results in large quantities of urine being produced and subsequently can result in increased thirst.
Dehydration can be due many reasons, such as strenuous exercise, diarrhea, vomiting, excessive sweating, heat exhaustion, fever, and burns. All these symptoms contribute to excessive fluid loss and ultimately a desire to drink plenty of water. The other signs can include fatigue, lethargy, disorientation, confusion and light- headedness.
Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia is caused by a reduced salivary flow or an abnormal dryness of the mucous membranes in the mouth. Patients suffering from dry mouth, usually complain about feeling thirsty and having difficulty while chewing, swallowing or even speaking. Several health conditions and drugs used to treat obesity, epilepsy, hypertension, diarrhea, urinary incontinence, asthma and Parkinson''s disease can cause dry mouth.
Studies show that hypercalcemia or increased serum concentration of calcium is associated with nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, excessive thirst, muscle weakness, lethargy, and fatigue. Hydrochlorothiazide, an effective antihypertensive medication affects urinary calcium excretion.
Low Blood Potassium
This condition is termed hypokalemia.The reasons may include low dietary potassium intake, shift into the intracellular compartment, or renal potassium loss. Studies show that diuretics may increase renal potassium loss by inhibiting sodium reabsorption. The main symptoms are passing large amounts of urine or feeling thirsty.
Anxiety is related to a host of activities including panic attacks, phobia, and nervousness. It not only affects an individual mentally, but physically as well. When a person suffers from anxiety, his/her body releases the stress hormone cortisol as a reflex action. This prepares the body for further action, which includes a raised heart beat and fast breathing. Anxiety may also cause dry mouth, excessive sweating and gastrointestinal discomfort that signals the body to increase intake of water.
Eating too much of salty or spicy food, sour food, alkaline and pungent food can also result in extreme thirst. Foods that are high in sodium content disrupt the electrolyte balance in the body. Increased sodium concentration, also known as hypernatremia occurs reflecting a net water loss. Generally, small amounts of sodium is needed for a healthy muscle and nerve function, but excess amounts may intricate the body mechanisms. This gives a signal to the kidneys to remove the excess through urination and thus, makes a person always feel thirsty.
Anemia may develop due to numerous reasons such as excessive bleeding, inadequate production of erythrocytes or their excessive destruction. The main symptoms include fatigue, weakness, increased thirst and paleness.