Constant thirst

Patient

Q: I've always been a big water drinker but during the last couple weeks I have been unable to drink enough water. It can be nothing for me to drink 3 or 4 gallons of water a day and still be thirsty. I am not dehydrated and has been tested for diabetes (which was negative). My question is what can I do to help me with not being as thirsty and is there a problem with drinking this much water on a daily basis.

Doctor

A:   In general the human body requires 2-3 litres of maintenance fluid per day. If you have constant symptoms of thirst, this may be secondary to excess loses either through urination, gastrointestinal tract or insensible losses through the skin by sweating. Diabetes is a condition in which a person has a high blood sugar (glucose) level as a result of the body either not producing enough insulin, or because body cells do not properly respond to the insulin that is produced. The symptoms can include: frequent urination, increased thirst, increased hunger, and weight loss. If you drink excess fluids continuously you are at risk of upsetting the salt water balance within the body. If your symptoms are not improving, I would advise attending your family physician for a fasting glucose level and blood electrolyte and antidiuretic hormone level.

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