Diabetes Insipidus: Chinese teen’s alarming 30-litre daily water intake linked to rare disease

Photo courtesy of Sanook

In a strange incident, a 14 year old boy in Jiangxi Province, China, alarmed many with his excessive water consumption, peaking at a staggering 30 litres a day. Not getting enough water often led to hunger, melancholy, fatigue, irritability and convulsions, signalling signs of the rare disease, diabetes insipidus.

The entire diabetes insipidus episode began back in 2004 when the boy was just a toddler. One night, he cried for water and his mother, thinking he was merely parched, obliged. This was the start of his constant requests for water. One morning, the boy rushed to the kitchen, gulped two large glasses of water, and proceeded with his meal, consuming more water as he ate. His actions sparked concern amongst family members, but as he continued to appear healthy, his mother dismissed the unusual behaviour as a result of the hot weather and increased thirst during outdoor play.

However, his unusual capacity for water consumption wasn’t only noticed by his mother. Friends and family members began to note his drinking habits. Despite visiting a local hospital, doctors confirmed his health as normal with his development within standard parameters, bringing some relief to his concerned mother.

Once the boy turned six, he started carrying two 1.5-litre water bottles to school daily, astonishing friends and teachers. During class, he would continue to consume water every couple of minutes, which began to distract his classmates. His teachers admonished him for his behaviour but to no avail. Finally, upon observing his crankiness and signs of discomfort, his parents decided to seek medical help.

Related news

Examinations at the local hospital failed to uncover anything abnormal. Desperate for a solution, the family consulted a traditional healer, thinking it might be something beyond the realms of science. Despite committing money to the traditional treatment, the boy’s condition did not improve. His mother then attempted to control his water consumption gradually until one day of water denial resulted in erratic and violent behaviour, including a convulsing fit on the floor. Water intake seemed to restore him back to normal, reported Sanook.

By 2016, his daily water consumption rose to ten litres. A year later, it soared to a terrifying 30 litres a day. His condition worsened, but the cause remained elusive. Finally, after visiting major city hospitals, doctors identified his symptoms as markers for Diabetes Insipidus – a rare disease typically developing post-surgery. Conventional wisdom explains the disease is relatively simple to treat, however, due to the late diagnosis, the boy faced a lengthy recovery period.

Upon hearing the doctor’s prognosis, the boy’s parents were devastated, regretting their lack of attention towards their son’s health and the time lost in his childhood due to the illness. They hope the painful lesson will be a reminder to other parents to be vigilant about their children’s health and seek early medical advice if they notice anything unusual.

World News

Samantha Rose

Samantha was a successful freelance journalist who worked with international news organisations before joining Thaiger. With a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from London, her global perspective on news and current affairs is influenced by her days in the UK, Singapore, and across Thailand. She now covers general stories related to Thailand.

Related Articles