Gastroparesis

Definition:
Gastroparesis (gastro-, “stomach” + -paresis, “partial paralysis”), also called delayed gastric emptying, is a medical condition consisting of a paresis (partial paralysis) of the stomach, resulting in food remaining in the stomach for an abnormally long time. Normally, the stomach contracts to move food down into the small intestine for additional digestion. The vagus nerve controls these contractions. Gastroparesis may occur when the vagus nerve is damaged and the muscles of the stomach and intestines do not properly function. Food then moves slowly or stops moving through the digestive tract….CLICK & SEE

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Symptoms:
The most common symptoms of gastroparesis are the following:
*Chronic nausea (93%)
*Vomiting (especially of undigested food) (68-84%)
*Abdominal pain (46-90%)
*A feeling of fullness after eating just a few bites (60-86%)

Other symptoms include the following:
*Palpitations
*Heartburn
*Abdominal bloating
*Erratic blood glucose levels
*Lack of appetite
*Gastroesophageal reflux
*Spasms of the stomach wall
*Weight loss and malnutrition

Morning nausea may also indicate gastroparesis. Vomiting may not occur in all cases, as sufferers may adjust their diets to include only small amounts of food.

Symptoms may be aggravated by eating greasy or rich foods, large quantities of foods with fiber—such as raw fruits and vegetables—or drinking beverages high in fat or carbonation. Symptoms may be mild or severe, and they can occur frequently in some people and less often in others. The symptoms of gastroparesis may also vary in intensity over time in the same individual. Sometimes gastroparesis is difficult to diagnose because people experience a range of symptoms similar to those of other diseases.

Causes:
Transient gastroparesis may arise in acute illness of any kind, as a consequence of certain cancer treatments or other drugs which affect digestive action, or due to abnormal eating patterns.

It is frequently caused by autonomic neuropathy. This may occur in people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. In fact, diabetes mellitus has been named as the most common cause of gastroparesis, as high levels of blood glucose may affect chemical changes in the nerves.The vagus nerve becomes damaged by years of high blood glucose or insufficient transport of glucose into cells resulting in gastroparesis. Other possible causes include anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, which may also damage the vagus nerve. Gastroparesis has also been associated with connective tissue diseases such as scleroderma and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. It may also occur as part of a mitochondrial disease.

Chronic gastroparesis can be caused by other types of damage to the vagus nerve, such as abdominal surgery.  Heavy cigarette smoking is also a plausible cause since smoking causes damage to the stomach lining.

Idiopathic gastroparesis (gastroparesis with no known cause) accounts for a third of all chronic cases; it is thought that many of these cases are due to an autoimmune response triggered by an acute viral infection. “Stomach flu”, mononucleosis, and other ailments have been anecdotally linked to the onset of the condition, but no systematic study has proven a link.

Gastroparesis sufferers are disproportionately female. One possible explanation for this finding is that women have an inherently slower stomach emptying time than men.A hormonal link has been suggested, as gastroparesis symptoms tend to worsen the week before menstruation when progesterone levels are highest. Neither theory has been proven definitively.

Gastroparesis can also be connected to hypochlorhydria and be caused by chloride, sodium and/or zinc deficiency, as these minerals are needed for the stomach to produce adequate levels of gastric acid (HCL) in order to properly empty itself of a meal.

Other identifiable causes of gastroparesis include intestinal surgery and nervous system diseases such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis. For reasons that are not very clear, gastroparesis is more commonly found in women than in men.

Complications:
The complications of gastroparesis can include

*severe dehydration due to persistent vomiting

*gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is GER that occurs more than twice a week for a few weeks; GERD can lead to esophagitis— irritation of the esophagus

*bezoars, which can cause nausea, vomiting, obstruction, or interfere with absorption of some medications in pill form

*difficulty managing blood glucose levels in people with diabetes

*malnutrition due to poor absorption of nutrients or a low calorie intake

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*decreased quality of life, including work absences due to severe symptoms

Diagnosis:
Gastroparesis is diagnosed through a physical exam, medical history, blood tests, tests to rule out blockage or structural problems in the GI tract, and gastric emptying tests. Tests may also identify a nutritional disorder or underlying disease. To rule out any blockage or other structural problems, the doctor may perform one or more of the following tests:

*Upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy. This procedure involves using an endoscope—a small, flexible tube with a light—to see the upper GI tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum—the first part of the small intestine. The test is performed at a hospital or outpatient center by a gastroenterologist—a doctor who specializes in digestive diseases. The endoscope is carefully fed down the esophagus and into the stomach and duodenum. A small camera mounted on the endoscope transmits a video image to a monitor, allowing close examination of the intestinal lining. A person may receive a liquid anesthetic that is gargled or sprayed on the back of the throat. An intravenous (IV) needle is placed in a vein in the arm if general anesthesia is given. The test may show blockage or large bezoars—solid collections of food, mucus, vegetable fiber, hair, or other material that cannot be digested in the stomach—that are sometimes softened, dissolved, or broken up during an upper GI endoscopy.

*Upper GI series. An upper GI series may be done to look at the small intestine. The test is performed at a hospital or outpatient center by an x-ray technician, and the images are interpreted by a radiologist—a doctor who specializes in medical imaging. Anesthesia is not needed. No eating or drinking is allowed for 8 hours before the procedure, if possible. If the person has diabetes, a health care provider may give different instructions about fasting before the test. During the procedure, the person will stand or sit in front of an x-ray machine and drink barium, a chalky liquid. Barium coats the small intestine, making signs of gastroparesis show up more clearly on x rays. Gastroparesis is likely if the x ray shows food in the stomach after fasting. A person may experience bloating and nausea for a short time after the test. For several days afterward, barium liquid in the GI tract causes stools to be white or light colored. A health care provider will give the person specific instructions about eating and drinking after the test.

*Ultrasound. Ultrasound uses a device, called a transducer, that bounces safe, painless sound waves off organs to create an image of their structure. The procedure is performed in a health care provider’s office, outpatient center, or hospital by a specially trained technician, and the images are interpreted by a radiologist; anesthesia is not needed. The images can show whether gallbladder disease and pancreatitis could be the cause of a person’s digestive symptoms, rather than gastroparesis.

*Gastric emptying scintigraphy. The test involves eating a bland meal—such as eggs or an egg substitute—that contains a small amount of radioactive material. The test is performed in a radiology center or hospital by a specially trained technician and interpreted by a radiologist; anesthesia is not needed. An external camera scans the abdomen to show where the radioactive material is located. The radiologist is then able to measure the rate of gastric emptying at 1, 2, 3, and 4 hours after the meal. If more than 10 percent of the meal is still in the stomach at 4 hours, the diagnosis of gastroparesis is confirmed.

*SmartPill. The SmartPill is a small electronic device in capsule form. The SmartPill test is available at specialized outpatient centers. The images are interpreted by a radiologist. The device is swallowed and moves through the entire digestive tract, sending information to a cell-phone-sized receiver worn around the person’s waist or neck. The recorded information provides a detailed record of how quickly food travels through each part of the digestive tract.

* Breath test. With this test, the person eats a meal containing a small amount of radioactive material; then breath samples are taken over a period of several hours to measure the amount of radioactive material in the exhaled breath. The results allow the health care provider to calculate how fast the stomach is emptying.
Treatment:
Treatment of gastroparesis depends on the severity of the person’s symptoms. In most cases, treatment does not cure gastroparesis, which is usually a chronic, or long-lasting, condition. Gastroparesis is also a relapsing condition—the symptoms can come and go for periods of time. Treatment helps people manage the condition so they can be as comfortable and active as possible.

Treatment includes dietary changes (low-fiber and low residue diets and, in some cases, restrictions on fat and/or solids); oral prokinetic medications such as metoclopramide (Reglan, Maxolon, Clopra), cisapride (Propulsid) (no longer available in the US or Australia), erythromycin (E-Mycin, Erythrocin, Ery-Tab, EES) and domperidone (Motilium) (not approved in the US; can be prescribed/obtained in Canada); adjustments in insulin dosage for those with diabetes; a jejunostomy tube; parenteral nutrition; implanted gastric neurostimulators (“stomach pacemakers”); or botulinum toxin (botox injected into the pylorus).

Sildenafil citrate, which increases blood flow to the genital area in men, is being used by some practitioners to stimulate the gastrointestinal tract in cases of diabetic gastroparesis.

The antidepressant mirtazapine has proven effective in the treatment of gastroparesis unresponsive to conventional treatment. This is due to its anti-emetic and appetite stimulant properties. Mirtazapine acts on the same serotonin receptor (5-HT3) as does the popular anti-emetic ondansetron.

When a person has severe symptoms, a liquid or puréed diet may be prescribed. As liquids tend to empty more quickly from the stomach, some people may find a puréed diet helps improve symptoms. Puréed fresh or cooked fruits and vegetables can be incorporated into shakes and soups. A health care provider may recommend a dietitian to help a person plan meals that minimize symptoms and ensure all nutritional needs are met.

When the most extreme cases of gastroparesis lead to severe nausea, vomiting, and dehydration, urgent care may be required at a medical facility where IV fluids can be given.

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In most of the cases if the patient starts Yoga exercise & meditation and does it regularly under the guidance of an expart with dietary changes he or she will get total recovery.

Hope through Research:
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases’ (NIDDK’s) Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition supports basic and clinical research into GI motility disorders, including gastroparesis.

Researchers are studying whether new medications or surgery can improve gastric emptying and reduce gastroparesis symptoms. Researchers are evaluating the safety and effectiveness of nortriptyline for treatment of gastroparesis.

Participants in clinical trials can play a more active role in their own health care, gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available, and help others by contributing to medical research.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gastroparesis
http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/digestive-diseases/gastroparesis/Pages/facts.aspx

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