There are a lot of people who have never heard of gastroparesis and do not know what it is. These people should know that it is a form of diabetic neuropathy or nerve damage and that it occurs quite often as a complication with people who suffer from diabetes. In this case it is the vagus nerve that is damaged. An interesting thing about this nerve is that its nature is wandering and that it meanders all the way form the brainstem to the colon. On its way, the nerve controls heart rate, sweating, gastrointestinal contractions and several other automatic functions on its way. Gastroparesis occurs when the nerve’s control of stomach contractions is damaged. All people know that the stomach is an empty ball and that its function is to storage food and mix it. The normal process of food crushing and churning occurs when the stomach produces contractions. These contractions occur in waves. After the food is processed, it goes to the small intestine and there the nutrients are absorbed by the system. People should know that this does not happen very fast and that it takes about four hours for the food to pass from the stomach to the small intestine. The process may even take more time if a person has consumed fat. However, if the vagus nerve is damaged, the process will hit a hitch. This happens because the walls of the stomach will not be able to produce wave-like contractions. When that happens, the food remains in the stomach and does not pass to the small intestine. That is a perfect place for bacteria to grow. A person who experiences this will suffer from nausea and vomiting. In some cases, even the pyloric valve may be blocked and that can create a severe emergency.
When gastroparesis is considered, the most common symptoms are bloating, abdominal pain, nausea, weight loss, heartburn and the feeling of fullness after just a couple of bites.
People need to know that diabetes is the leading risk factor of gastroparesis. Lots of people who have diabetes end up suffering from this condition as well. It is hard for gastroparesis to be diagnosed and because of that there are some new methods that help. A barium X-ray is also an option when it comes to discovering gastroparesis. Checking the stomach contractions with a tube is also a possible method.
The best way to treat this condition is to consume more frequent meals. Drinking a lot of liquids helps as well. People should also avoid lying down right after the meal. People should also avoid eating fats and smoking. Regaining the control of blood sugar levels is highly important.