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What is Gastroparesis?

Gastroparesis is delayed stomach emptying. Gastroparesis often occurs in people with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms of Gastroparesis?

The most common symptoms of gastroparesis are:

  • nausea
  • vomiting of undigested food
  • full stomach when you eat a small amount of food
  • weight loss with normal eating
  • abdominal bloating
  • heart burn

What Causes Gastroparesis?

Gastroparesis is caused by impairment of the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is responsible for mediating many automatic functions of the body, including heart rate and digestion. If the vagus nerve is not working properly, the muscles of the stomach and intestines do not work normally, and the movement of food is slowed or stopped.

What happens during Gastroparesis?

When a person has gastroparesis, the stomach is able to receive food from the esophagus but it is unable to release the food to the small intestine. When this happens, the stomach acid can travel up the esophagus causing a burning sensation in the middle of the chest (heartburn).

As a result of having gastroparesis, the stomach may feel full after small meals. This occurs because the stomach may not have emptied its contents from previous meal(s). In extreme cases, several meals will accumulate in the stomach and cause severe bloating.

How does Gastroparesis affect Diabetics?

Gastroparesis can make it difficult for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar levels. This occurs because if the stomach empties too slowly, it can have the same effects on blood sugar as skipping a meal. Blood sugars will plummet and rise depending on when the stomach empties.

How is Gastroparesis Diagnosed?

Your doctor can diagnose gastroparesis by performing the following tests:

  • R-R interval study
  • Gamma-Ray Technetium scan
  • Barium Hamburger test

Treatment Options for Gastroparesis?

Gastroparesis can be treated. The most common treatments for gastroparesis are:

  • medications
  • special exercises during and after meals
  • special massages duing and after meals
  • modification of meal plan

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