Thursday, December 8, 2011


I know that it isn't's Thursday.  But with all the author guest posts and the promo for my current book, a lot of my regular posts I like to do have been put aside.  For those of you that know me, know that every once in a while I post medical facts every now and again.  I usually reserve Mondays for anything Diabetic related.  I am in a unique position as a health care professional to share my knowledge with you all and if anything seems familiar or if you have questions, I encourage you to call your doctor and make an appointment to get yourself checked out!

Today, I wanted to discuss a little something called diabetic gastroporesis.  Gastro--what?  Gastroporesis!!  It can be a very debilitating, painful, complication of diabetes.  Simply speaking, it means that the stomach's ability to move food into the small intestine (one of the main functions of your stomach) is impaired because of severe nerve damage.

The exact cause of this condition is unknown.  But it is believed that consistently high blood sugar levels and insulin deficiency may be contributing factors in damaging the nerve fibers that control the motility of your gut. 

Symptoms you may experience if you have gastroporesis are but not limited to the following:
~abdominal pain
~poor appetite
~excessive weight loss
~low blood sugar levels followed by a spike in blood sugar
~difficulty swallowing
~a feeling of fullness after on a couple of bites of food
~constipation alternating with diarrhea
~nausea and vomiting
~malabsorption of nutrients & medications taken orally
~electrolyte imbalance such as low potassium and sodium
~foul breath
~Worst case scenario would be coma...death

Since this has hit so close to home as my very dear sister is a diabetic and now has this permanent chronic condition, I'm sad to say there are very few treatments available.  But there are ways to manage the condition.

~Medications may be used to manage the nausea/vomiting and increase gut motility to try and keep things moving along.

~Diet modification may be necessary to allow for adequate intake so you do not become malnourished and/or dehydrated.  It can includes frequent small meals, a restriction is fatty foods and plant fiber, an increase in liquids or shakes packed full of nutrients.
Sometimes it may be necessary to place a gastric tube for feeding. It is a relatively small procedure where a puncture through the abdominal wall is performed and the tube is placed.  Placing a G-tube like the one shown "bypasses" where the main nerve damage is located and allows a person to get the important nutrients he needs.

~Enterra Therapy System~While doing the research for this blog post, I found this really cool therapy where an electronic device can be inserted and it provides electrical impulses to stimulate the stomach muscles to do it's job!  It's like a pacemaker for your stomach!  Watch this video!!

Very cool, indeed.  Don't you just love technology??? Thank you all for stopping by today!  Take care of yourselves!!


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