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Source: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

What is gastroparesis?

Gastroparesis, also called delayed gastric emptying, is a disorder in which the stomach takes too long to empty its contents. It often occurs in people with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes.

Gastroparesis happens when nerves to the stomach are damaged or stop working. The vagus nerve controls the movement of food through the digestive tract. If the vagus nerve is damaged, the muscles of the stomach and intestines do not work normally, and the movement of food is slowed or stopped.

Diabetes can damage the vagus nerve if blood glucose levels remain high over a long period of time. High blood glucose causes chemical changes in nerves and damages the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the nerves.
 
Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of gastroparesis are

· heartburn
· nausea
· vomiting of undigested food
· an early feeling of fullness when eating
· weight loss
· abdominal bloating
· erratic blood glucose levels
· lack of appetite
· gastroesophageal reflux
· spasms of the stomach wall

These symptoms may be mild or severe, depending on the person.

Gastroparesis affects up to 75% of people with diabetes, causing bloating, loss of appetite and, in some cases, vomiting and dehydration. Gastroparesis can also complicate efforts to control blood sugar levels with medication because it disrupts the timing of the digestive process.