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Gastroparesis Digestive Disorder

Did you know that August is Gastroparesis Awareness Month? That’s right! Officially added to the U.S. National Health Observances Calendar is Gastroparesis to raise awareness for this gastrointestinal disorder. Therefore, in raising awareness we hope to build a greater understanding of Gastroparesis and the struggles faced by those with the condition

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Gastroparesis is a gastrointestinal (digestive) disorder that can cause mild to severe symptoms. It is commonly referred to as stomach paralysis. There are some rare cases where it can become life-threatening. Nonetheless, there is still much to be learned.  The diagnosis and treatment of this condition are the main concern.

Through funding Gastroparesis research, we can learn more about this disorder and hopefully improve the quality of life for those living it. The main goal for this month is to raise awareness, funding, and support for patients and their families.

How Does Gastroparesis Digestive Disorder Develop?

In healthy people, stomach muscles use strong contractions to pass food through the digestive tract (small intestine).  However, the spontaneous movement of these muscles is disrupted in people with Gastroparesis. This causes the stomach to not digest food and causes pain.

Gastroparesis can lead to significant blood sugar fluctuations and nutritional defects. Therefore, people can suffer from frequent nausea or vomiting. Other common symptoms include:

  • Reduced appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Feeling full after little food

The causes of Gastroparesis are unknown. They are called Idiopathic Gastroparesis (IG).

The known causes are the following:

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Botched gastric surgery
  • Mismanaged diabetes
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Certain medications like narcotic pain-relievers
  • Rare underlying conditions like amyloidosis or scleroderma

The lack of knowledge about the causes of Gastroparesis calls for more clinical research on the subject. As a result, it is important to continue fighting for funding of Gastroparesis research. Hence, more information can help uncover better methods of treatment.

There are many things still to learn about what causes Gastroparesis to develop. However, there are risk factors to be mindful of. These risk factors include:

  • Diabetes
  • Abdominal surgery
  • Radiation therapy and other cancer treatments
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Viral infections
  • Middle-aged and younger women are at the greatest risk for IG
  • Certain medications that restrict the ability of the stomach to empty

Misconceptions About Gastroparesis

There are many misconceptions regarding gastroparesis and those who suffer from it. While there are still many things to learn about this disorder, we would like to dispel some of the more common myths.

First, it seems like many people believe that Gastroparesis is an eating disorder. This not at all the case. Gastroparesis is a gastrointestinal (digestive) disorder. Hence, this means that it can leave people with a constant feeling of fullness and prevent them from eating as much as they would like. Additionally, it can cause nausea and vomiting after eating.  Therefore people with Gastroparesis have to be careful about what they eat. This can often lead to malnutrition and weight loss.

People with Gastroparesis are said to be called lazy. The case is not that they are lazy, it is simply that they often do not get enough nutrition and therefore lack the energy to perform everyday tasks. Nausea and dizziness can also make physical activity difficult for people with this disorder. Due to these symptoms, it can cause Gastroparesis to worsen.

Another common misconception is a lack of personal care. Although Gastroparesis can be caused by poorly managed diabetes, that is certainly not the case for everyone. Remember that this condition can be caused by viral infections, gastric surgeries, Parkinson’s disease and other factors outside of your own control.

Support Gastroparesis Research

As stated earlier, the best way to help support those with Gastroparesis and learn new and better forms of treatment is through research, such as Gastroparesis clinical trials. However, this research like any other form of research requires funding. As a result, by donating to foundations that help fund this research, you can help in the fight against this disorder.

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Help improve the life of Gastroparesis victims and donate to one of these great organizations below::

Become Involved With Gastroparesis Awareness Month

Due to the increasing number of patients with this condition, it is important that we continue to raise awareness in whatever way we can. Therefore, the more information we have, the better treatments and care we can create for. Hence, creating a healthier lifestyle for people with this condition.

Consider the following to get more involved in raising awareness for Gastroparesis:

  • Start a conversation
  • Set up a fundraiser to build awareness and help raise money for research.
  • Most importantly, educate yourself on the facts so that you can inform others

Support Gastroparesis Awareness Month and stay informed by visiting The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. In addition, spread the word and advocate about this digestive disorder.

If you would like to know more about this condition or to speak with a doctor call (904)513-3240 or click here to contact us.