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Managing Gastroparesis in Diabetes Care: Insights and Strategies

Gastroparesis can be a complex condition to manage and treat. This is especially true for those who have gastroparesis linked with diabetes. Gastroparesis can impact patients in a variety of ways, and the condition can vary in severity over time. In the case of gastroparesis linked with diabetes, treating blood sugar levels and the underlying diabetic diagnosis is often key.

Managing gastroparesis has become easier in recent years as increased efforts to study and understand the condition have yielded new treatment modalities. While still a complex diagnosis, gastroparesis is no longer as difficult to treat and manage as it once was.

Strategies and Insights Related to Gastroparesis Care for Diabetics

Gastroparesis can be idiopathic, but for those who have diabetes, it can be a common secondary diagnosis. Diabetes can cause a variety of secondary digestive conditions, which range in severity. Gastroparesis is one of the most common secondary diagnoses for those with diabetes.

Thankfully, new research has shown that many of the strategies that are successful for managing the symptoms and progression of diabetes, can also help to manage and control gastroparesis as well. Being able to take care of the symptoms related to both conditions within the same care strategy can be a big benefit to those who are suffering from both diabetes and gastroparesis.

Most patients with diabetes and gastroparesis will be provided with a treatment plan that includes some combination of the following care strategies:

1. Changing Eating Habits

One of the key aspects of both diabetic care and gastroparesis care is diet modification. It is fairly simple to meet the requirements of both conditions with the same dietary modifications. Patients with diabetes and a secondary diagnosis of gastroparesis will need to eat small, nutritious meals five to six times a day. They will also need to avoid sugary foods and foods that are carbohydrate-dense.

Patients with diabetes and gastroparesis should also go for a walk or engage in gentle movement after eating a meal. This helps to stimulate the movement of the digestive system, which aids in the correct processing of food and helps to control insulin spikes. Since spikes of insulin can be deadly in severe cases of diabetes, dietary management is key to managing this condition, as well as gastroparesis.

2. Weight Management

It was once thought that weight loss was the gold standard for diabetic care. While weight loss is still a key aspect of successful treatment for many diabetics, there have been various Glp-1 lawsuits in the past couple of years that indicate that certain weight loss drugs should be contra-indicated for those with gastroparesis. While it is tedious to lose weight in the old-fashioned way, increasing activity and modifying diet are a big help for this part of the treatment of diabetes and gastroparesis.

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3. Supportive Medications

One of the most debilitating aspects of gastroparesis, for most patients, is the ongoing nausea and problems with vomiting. Antiemetics can play a significant helping role for patients struggling with daily vomiting and nausea as they manage their gastroparesis and their diabetes. Antiemetics can be a frontline of defense for malnutrition, making it easier for patients with these two health conditions to get proper nutrition on a regular basis.

There are also various medications that stimulate stomach emptying, such as Domperidone, Metoclopramide, and more. These medications are sometimes contraindicated for diabetics, which is why patients need to work with their doctor to ensure that they are on the right medication protocol to manage both their diabetes and their gastroparesis.

Pain medications can be required in some cases to help with gastric pain related to gastroparesis. However, these medications can often delay stomach emptying further, which might make them a poor choice for those with advanced cases of gastroparesis.

4. Tube Feeding

Some gastroparesis patients become sick enough that nutrition delivery becomes a major issue for them. In these cases, oral or nasal tube feeding can be the best option. These feeding solutions bypass the stomach and deliver liquid food to the small intestine directly. This is the most efficient way of overcoming the severe malnutrition that is often connected with severe cases of gastroparesis.

While tube feeding is not often a long-term solution for patients with both diabetes and gastroparesis, there are cases where nutrition delivery cannot be managed using any other method for a short period of time. Tube feeding is usually utilized while patients wait to receive surgical interventions to improve gastric performance and also their quality of life.

5. Surgical Interventions

There are a few surgical interventions that are possible to help alleviate the symptoms of gastroparesis in patients with severe symptoms. Gastric electrical stimulation can be done by an installed device that stimulates the contractions of the lower abdominal muscles and the stomach. This is one of the most effective ways to manage the symptoms of patients with delayed stomach emptying, which can cause both diabetic symptoms and gastroparesis symptoms.

Venting gastrostomy can also help to alleviate the pressure inside the stomach, which can help to restore improved function in the digestive system. This procedure also often includes placing a tube that allows the stomach contents to flow more rapidly out of the stomach to be digested, which can help to improve outcomes for those with severe gastroparesis.

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Care for Gastroparesis and Diabetes is Improving All The Time

Gastroparesis patients are being provided with new hope as new treatments are developed on a regular basis. Often, diabetes and gastroparesis are interwoven diagnoses. Thankfully, the treatment protocols for the two conditions are often related, which makes it much easier to tackle both medical problems at the same time.

While gastroparesis can be difficult to manage, diabetes is often much easier to control. Being able to control the underlying cause of gastroparesis with medication and dietary changes can often resolve most of the symptoms of diabetes as well. These new treatment modalities are offering new hope to those suffering from diabetes and related conditions that affect digestion and impact daily well being.