Q: I am constantly thirsty but I’ve been tested for diabetes and I don’t have it. What else could it be?
A: Kudos for you for knowing that excessive, chronic thirst is an indicator of diabetes. More kudos for having it checked out by your doctor.
Feeling thirsty or having a dry mouth is a fairly common complaint.
The most common causes are also the simplest to remedy:
1. The foods you eat are too salty. This is may be the case if you rely heavily on processed or packaged foods which tend to be loaded with hidden sodium
2. You are not drinking enough. Even though it may seem like you are drinking all the time, you many not be drinking as much as you think you are and you may still be slightly dehydrated
3. Decreased saliva. As we get older, our salivary glands produces a lower volume of saliva per day. This can be remedied by keeping chewing gum handy.
4. Medications. Anti-cholinergic medications (ex anti-histamines) and diuretics can make your mouth dry and/or make you excrete more fluids than usual. Look at the side-effect profile of any medications you are currently taking.
There more serious causes of chronic thirst such as diabetes insipidus (different than diabetes mellitus) and psychogenic polydypisa, but there are clues to these conditions in the basic lab tests that your physician normally examines, so likely he/she would have caught these.
Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting www.beekman1802.com.
Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at email@example.com.