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English by Carol Group

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Thirst is the craving for potable fluids, resulting in the basic instinct of animals to drink. It is an essential mechanism involved in fluid balance.[1] It arises from a lack of fluids or an increase in the concentration of certain osmolites, such as sodium. If the water volume of the body falls below a certain threshold or the osmolite concentration becomes too high, structures in the brain detect changes in blood constituents and signal thirst.[2]


Continuous dehydration can cause acute and chronic diseases, but is most often associated with renal and neurological disorders.[1] Excessive thirst, called polydipsia, along with excessive urination, known as polyuria, may be an indication of diabetes mellitus or diabetes insipidus.

There are receptors and other systems in the body that detect a decreased volume or an increased osmolite concentration.[1][2] Some sources distinguish "extracellular thirst" from "intracellular thirst", where extracellular thirst is thirst generated by decreased volume and intracellular thirst is thirst generated by increased osmolite concentration.[2]

It is vital for organisms to be able to maintain their fluid levels in very narrow ranges. The goal is to keep the interstitial fluid, the fluid outside the cell, at the same concentration as the intracellular fluid, the fluid inside the cell. This condition is called isotonic and occurs when the same levels of solutes are present on either side of the cell membrane so that the net water movement is zero. If the interstitial fluid has a higher concentration of solutes (or a lower concentration of water) than the intracellular fluid, it will pull water out of the cell. This condition is called hypertonic and if enough water leaves the cell, it will not be able to perform essential chemical functions. The animal will then become thirsty in response to the demand for water in the cell. After the animal drinks water, the interstitial fluid becomes less concentrated of solutes (more concentrated of water) than the intracellular fluid and the cell will fill with water as it tries to equalize the concentrations. This condition is called hypotonic and can be dangerous because it can cause the cell to swell and rupture. One set of receptors responsible for thirst detects the concentration of interstitial fluid. The other set of receptors detects blood volume.[2]

This is one of two types of thirst and is defined as thirst caused by loss of blood volume (hypovolemia) without depleting the intracellular fluid. This can be caused by blood loss, vomiting, and diarrhea. This loss of volume is problematic because if the total blood volume falls too low the heart cannot circulate blood effectively and the eventual result is hypovolemic shock. The vascular system responds by constricting blood vessels thereby creating a smaller volume for the blood to fill. This mechanical solution, however, has definite limits and usually must be supplemented with increased volume. The loss of blood volume is detected by cells in the kidneys and triggers thirst for both water and salt via the renin-angiotensin system.[2][3]

Osmometric thirst occurs when the solute concentration of the interstitial fluid increases. This increase draws water out of the cells, and they shrink in volume. The solute concentration of the interstitial fluid increases by high intake of sodium in diet or by the drop in volume of extracellular fluids (such as blood plasma and cerebrospinal fluid) due to loss of water through perspiration, respiration, urination and defecation. The increase in interstitial fluid solute concentration causes water to migrate from the cells of the body, through their membranes, to the extracellular compartment, by osmosis, thus causing cellular dehydration.[1]

Because sodium is also lost from the plasma in hypovolemia, the body's need for salt proportionately increases in addition to thirst in such cases.[3] This is also a result of the renin-angiotensin system activation.[medical citation needed]

In adults over the age of 50 years, the body's thirst sensation reduces and continues diminishing with age, putting this population at increased risk of dehydration.[6] Several studies have demonstrated that elderly persons have lower total water intakes than younger adults, and that women are particularly at risk of too low an intake.[7][8][9]In 2009, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) included water as a macronutrient in its dietary reference values for the first time.[10] Recommended intake volumes in the elderly are the same as for younger adults (2.0 L/day for females and 2.5 L/day for males) as despite lower energy consumption, the water requirement of this group is increased due to a reduction in renal concentrating capacity.[10][11]

The areas of the brain that contribute to the sense of thirst are mainly located in the midbrain and the hindbrain. Specifically, the hypothalamus appears to play a key role in the regulation of thirst.

The median preoptic nucleus and the subfornical organ receive signals of decreased volume[clarification needed] and increased osmolite concentration. Finally, the signals are received in cortex areas of the forebrain[2] where thirst arises. The subfornical organ and the organum vasculosum of the lamina terminalis contribute to regulating the overall bodily fluid balance by signalling to the hypothalamus to form vasopressin, which is later released by the pituitary gland.[2]

Hypercalcemia means the calcium levels in your blood are above normal. Causes include overactive parathyroid glands (hyperparathyroidism), another illness (tuberculosis, sarcoidosis), and even cancer (lung, breast, kidney, multiple myeloma). Besides thirst, symptoms of hypercalcemia may include:

My dearest Mother, you were attentive to the spiritual thirst in the Heart of your Son. You were also attentive to the fact that His thirst was for me and for all humanity. Pray for me that I may be like that sour wine, lifted to the lips of your divine Son.

My thirsting Lord, I know that Your words, spoken from the Cross, were words inviting me to satiate Your spiritual longing. Help me to trust that You love me as I am. Give me the courage I need to trust in Your mercy and to turn to You this day. I love You, dear Lord. Help me to love You more.

In a 2016 study, Knight lab graduate student Christopher Zimmerman helped to explain this phenomenon by showing that sensory signals from the mouth and throat make thirst neurons in the hypothalamus shut down immediately when mice take a drink. These sensors appear to predict how hydrating a drink will be, based on the volume of liquid an animal swallows, and they are particularly attuned to cold fluids, which may explain why an icy drink is so refreshing.

To see whether these signals could be coming from the gut, the researchers infused liquid directly into the stomachs of thirsty mice while watching the activity of their thirst neurons. They found that infusing fresh water deactivated these cells just as well as taking a drink does, but after infusions of salt water thirst neurons remained active. When mice were given a salt infusion and then allowed drink pure water, their thirst neurons initially went quiet as they drank, but soon switched back on, as if signaling the need to drink more to make up for the added salt in their stomachs.

These results suggest that the sensors in the mouth and throat that Zimmerman discovered in 2016 let the brain temporarily quench thirst to reward animals for taking a drink, but that the thirst neurons then review this decision based on a second level of sensors in the gut (probably at the beginning of the small intestine, the authors suggest) that predict how well the drink will rehydrate the animal and tell it whether it needs to keep drinking.

In addition to studying the normal function of the SFO and MnPO thirst neurons, the researchers hope to use these insights to understand whether defects in how these neurons regulate fluid balance within the body could explain the origins of diseases like high blood pressure.

Thirst is the feeling of needing to drink something. It occurs whenever the body is dehydrated for any reason. Any condition that can result in a loss of body water can lead to thirst or excessive thirst. For this reason, thirst is a characteristic symptoms of certain medical conditions, most notably diabetes mellitus. Thirst may be accompanied by other signs of dehydration such as decreased urine output, reduced sweating and tear production, muscle cramps, weakness, lightheadedness, and nausea. Dehydration and thirst may be minor or severe, depending upon the amount of water lost by the body. Polydipsia is the medical term that refers to increased or excessive thirst.

Diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. The two types of diabetes are referred to as type 1 (insulin dependent) and type 2 (non-insulin dependent). Symptoms of diabetes include increased urine output, thirst, hunger, and fatigue. Treatment of diabetes depends on the type.

Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic condition in which a person's blood sugar (glucose) levels are too high. Over 29.1 million children and adults in the US have diabetes. Of that, 8.1 million people have diabetes and don't even know it. Type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependent, juvenile) is caused by a problem with insulin production by the pancreas. Type 2 diabetes (non-insulin dependent) is caused by:Eating a lot of foods and drinking beverages with simple carbohydrates (pizza, white breads, pastas, cereals, pastries, etc.) and simple sugars (donuts, candy, etc.)Consuming too many products withartificial sweeteners (We found out that they are bad for us!)Lack of activityExerciseStressGeneticsWhile the signs and symptoms of both types of diabetes are the same, which include:Increased urinationIncreased hungerIncreasedthirstUnexplainedweight loss. However, the treatments are different. Type 1 diabetes is insulin dependent, which means a person with this type of diabetes requires treatment with insulin. People with type 2 diabetes require medication, lifestyle changes like eating a healthy diet, and getting regular exercise. 041b061a72


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