Gastroparesis is a condition where the stomach empties slowly.
Several factors contribute to the movements of the stomach, including the vagus nerve and muscles of the stomach and bowels.
When these structures are damaged, the stomach's work can be "paralyzed," and food can be stored for long periods.
Diabetic gastroparesis, in particular, is caused by persistent high blood sugar levels, leading to chemical reactions and nerve and vessel damage to the vagus nerve.
If food stays in the stomach for too long and does not empty properly, it can lead to infections, such as a large mass (bezoar) that may eventually block the intestines.
Surgery is necessary in such cases, although it can be difficult and dangerous to remove the mass.
It is important to always address alimentary problems to a doctor to catch diabetic gastroparesis in its early stages when treatment is easier and complications are less severe.
Recognizing the "ringing bell" symptoms is crucial for early diagnosis.
The signs of gastroparesis are related to alimentary problems, such as frequent heartburns, vomiting, or unexplained weight loss.
When you eat, you may feel full earlier than usual or experience loss of appetite more often.
You may also experience abdominal bloating or gastroesophageal reflux.
This is because, when stomach does not empty normally, the food
does not pass into the bowels to be then digested. Therefore, when you
check your blood sugar and find high, you hardly could control it.
After discussing all of your symptoms with your doctor, they may conduct various tests to diagnose diabetic gastroparesis.
These tests may include blood tests, ultrasounds, and radiographic tests such as Barium x-ray and barium beefsteak meal, gastric manometry, upper endoscopy, and radioisotope gastric-emptying scan.
The main goal of treatment for diabetic gastroparesis is to manage the condition to prevent severe complications.
Maintaining healthy blood glucose levels is crucial to impede further damage to the vagus nerve.
Dietary changes such as altering the time or amount of each meal may alleviate the situation.
However, in severe cases, feeding tubes or intravenous feeding may be required.
In conclusion, prevention is key to managing diabetic gastroparesis.
Understanding the causes of diabetes can help prevent it with determination and wisdom.
The same changes that can help prevent diabetes can also prevent severe complications, such as diabetic gastroparesis.
It is important to recognize the "ringing bell" symptoms and seek medical attention promptly to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Written by Dr.Albana Greca Sejdini, Md, MMedSc
Medically reviewed by Dr.Ruden Cakoni, MD, Endocrinologist
Last reviewed 2/25/2023Beat Diabetes › Diabetes Complications › Symptoms of Diabetic Gastroparesis