Gastroparesis is a partial paralysis of the stomach caused by damage to the vagus nerve. Gastroparesis can be caused by Parkinson's disease, diabetes or stroke. In some instances certain medications, such as calcium channel blockers, certain narcotics or antidepressants, may cause a flare up.
Gastroparesis may cause you to feel full after a few bites of food, you may feel bloated or you may suffer from hiccups or belching. In more severe cases, you may suffer from vomiting or nausea, may lose weight and may suffer from a loss of appetite.
Symptoms vary from person to person. Some have only very mild symptoms while others have more severe symptoms that require medication to be used. In very severe cases, a patient may have to have a feeding tube placed in their intestine. Patients will often be tested using a radioisotope gastric-emptying scan. This type of scan allows the doctor to determine how quickly you are digesting your food.
Blood sugar levels in patients with gastroparesis must be carefully controlled. Gastroparesis can cause diabetics to have significant difficulty controlling their blood sugar due to the fact that food remains in their stomach longer. This often means that medications will have to be adjusted, they may have to change when they take medication and they may have to test blood glucose levels more frequently.
There are a range of treatments that your doctor may discuss with you. These include changing your eating habits from larger meals to smaller meals, reducing the amount of fat and fiber in your diet and, if you are suffering very severe symptoms, your doctor may suggest a feeding tube.
Risk factors for gastroparesis
Those who are diabetic seem to have a higher risk factor of gastroparesis. This is believed to be caused by higher glucose levels. Those who suffer from ongoing symptoms should contact their physician; food that is left in the stomach after long periods of time could result in bacterial infections.
Gastroparesis is not something that should be ignored. Understanding how to live with gastroparesis is challenging but, with proper research, your diet can help. If you believe you have symptoms of gastroparesis, whether you are diabetic or not, you should contact your physician and ask him to test you. This is not a disorder that is to be taken lightly as it can cause very long-term issues.