Gastroparesis is a condition where the stomach takes very long to digest food after a meal. This poor digestion is caused by a damaged vagus nerve that does not work properly.
Basically, gastroparesis occurs when the damaged nerve endings in the stomach lining slow down the process of the stomach emptying. Because the stomach is emptying too slowly, gastric juices also remain in the stomach too long causing further erosion to the stomach lining. Consequently, nutrients take longer to reach the blood stream, which can trigger low blood sugar. This condition can be very mild for some but in others it can result in huge problems. In mild cases, gastroparesis causes minor discomfort. In cases that the blood sugar levels are affected, diabetes can result in a co-morbidity.
The symptoms of gastroparesis include burping, bloating, bad breath, belching, heartburn, constipation and loss of appetite. This condition of having food floating in the stomach causes severe discomfort. Another distinct symptom of gastroparesis is having fluctuations between high and low blood sugar. If left unattended for long durations, the stomach acids coming into the mouth could end up dissolving the teeth of a patient.
Diagnosis of gastroparesis is made with the use of a radioisotope. Your doctor will administer a mild radioactive substance and then watch the stomach's reaction with a radioisotope. The measurement they use to diagnosis or rule out gastroparesis is the speed at which the radioactive substance is eliminated.
Factors to Deal With
There are several things that you can do to deal with gastroparesis:
• Control Diabetes: Control diabetes since it is what causes the gastroparesis in the first place by damaging the vagus nerve. It is important to follow instructions that you get from your doctors especially with regards to eating and the kinds of foods to take. In most cases you will also be instructed on preparation of the food.
• Frequent Meals: Eat smaller and frequent meals about six or eight times a day which will be easier for your stomach to digest. This will also help to level your blood sugar levels.
• Low Fiber: Eat Low fiber foods that are highly nutritious and easier to digest. Although fiber is good for you, when dealing with gastroparesis it is best to keep it at a minimum. Ask your doctor to recommend foods that will be best for you.
• Avoid Bitter Beverages: Avoid bitter beverages or foods that are likely to trigger the release of stomach acids in excessive quantities.
• Medication: You could also consider getting medication especially in severe cases although you must make the changes to your eating habits.
• Surgery: Finally you may require surgery in extreme situations and have a feeding tube inserted into the small intestines to give sustenance.
Relation Between Gastroparesis and Daibetics
The connection between gastroparesis and low blood sugar is that a person who has gastroparesis can suffer from both high and low blood sugar. If you control your blood sugar levels you can lower the symptoms of gastroparesis. Gastroparesis and low blood sugar are caused by the body's inability to rid itself of foods at the required rate. This happens when the stomach lining gets damaged.
Diabetes can cause stomach lining damage. Gastroparesis results from damage to the nerve endings of the stomach lining.
Diabetes is not the only cause of stomach lining damage resulting in gastroparesis. Other causes include overuse of narcotics and Parkinson's disease. Use of certain other medications can also be a trigger. The best way to treat gastroparesis is by changing both your diet and health regime. By adopting an overall healthier lifestyle, over time the symptoms of gastroparesis can improve. Healthy diet and lifestyle changes optimize the medical treatment provided by your physician.