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Definition of Dipsosis

Dipsosis: Excessive thirst; overwhelming desire for water or another liquid. Dipsosis may occur when the amount of water in the body falls below normal. Any activity that causes perspiration can deplete the body's water supply and trigger dipsosis. So can fever, anxiety, sunburn and heat exhaustion. Other causes of water loss and dipsosis include the following:

  • Diabetes
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Diuretic drinks
  • Diuretic medicines
  • Taking in too much salt

Diabetes: In diabetes, excessive levels of glucose, a type of sugar, build up in the blood. When the body disposes of some of the excess glucose through urination, the extra glucose in the urine acts as what is called an osmotic diuretic and requires more water to be added to the urine. Considerable water loss occurs. The person then becomes very thirsty.

Vomiting and diarrhea: Both vomiting and diarrhea deplete the body of water holus-bolus. Illnesses that cause vomiting and diarrhea require treatment that replenishes the body's water orally (by mouth) or intravenously (IV). Rehydration also should include other substances that have been lost. For example, if sodium has been depleted, there needs to be some salt in the fluid being drunk or administered IV.

Diuretic beverages: Diuretic beverages, those that promote urination, include coffee, tea, beer and other alcoholic beverages.

Diuretic medicines: Too high a dose of a diuretic drug, one that promotes the formation of urine, also will cause dehydration and lead to excessive thirst (dipsosis).

Taking in too much salt: Ham, canned soup, cheese, pickles, sauerkraut, lunch meats, snack foods (like pretzels and peanuts) and fast foods all tend to contain high levels of salt. These foods should be eaten sparingly to prevent dipsosis.

"Dipsosis" is derived from the Greek "dipsa" (thirst) and "-sis" (a suffix meaning condition or state).

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=12391
Last Editorial Review: 9/20/2012

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