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OK, so here's the scenario; you are a physician, nurse, medical assistant or hold another title in the medical field and you have a Gastroparesis patient. Technology limits you in how you can treat your patient and there are not many medication options available to help ease Gastroparesis symptoms. We all know there is no cure so now what do you do? You need answers and other options to help your patient. Fear not. You have come to the right place. 
 
 
This web page was designed to help all medical professionals treating Gastroparesis patients. It is not intended to be a cure but a helpful tool by providing ideas and suggestions.
*This page will be updated on a daily basis.

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Let's take steps in providing high quality of care to all of our Gastroparesis patients!
 
 
1-Whether you are a caregiver, doctor, physician assistant or nurse, make sure that first your patient is comfortable. Having a bad day? Leave it outside of the office and remember great reputations are not just handed out, they are built over time.
 
In an emergency room setting, warm blankets are a must as well low light. If the emergency room is busy respect the patient and any family members, friends or loved ones by closing the door or curtain.
Call button! Call button! How can the patient notify you once you leave the room and they need assistance if they do not have the call button bedside?
 
 
 
2-After performing a full physical exam and taking medical history, you may want to order several blood tests to check the over all blood count, chemical and electrolyte levels. To rule out an obstruction or other Gastroparesis complication you might suggest the following tests:
 
Upper endoscopy-Viewing the lining of the stomach to check for any abnormalities.
 
Ultrasound-Great tool to help rule out gallbladder disease and pancreatic conditions.
 
CAT scan-Scans of internal organs, bone, soft tissue and blood vessels providing greater clarity and helping to reveal more details than regular x-ray exams. One of the best and fastest diagnostic tests for the abdomen.
*CAUTION-PLEASE BE AWARE OF OVERUSE DUE TO HIGH LEVELS OF RADIATION FOUND IN CURRENT MEDICAL/RESEARCH STUDIES.
 
MRI-MR imaging uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and virtually all other internal body structures.
*MRI DOES NOT USE IONIZING RADIATION (x-rays).
 
Barium X- ray-Fluoroscopy makes it possible to see internal organs in motion. When the upper GI tract is coated with barium, the radiologist is able to view and assess the anatomy and function of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum.
 
 
 
3-Treating Severe Dehydration
 
For adults and even children who are severely dehydrated, treatment of the condition should be done by emergency personnel in an ambulance or hospital staff in an emergency room. The person should receive fluids and salts through a vein instead of the mouth. This form of hydration provides the body with water and essential nutrients faster than oral solutions, which is imperative.
 
*Patient education on dehydration-You can create your own oral re-hydration solution in an emergency situation where no preformulated solution is available. Mix teaspoon of salt, teaspoon of baking soda, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and a liter of safe drinking water. Be accurate with your measurements since every component should have an exact amount or the solution can prove ineffective.
 
 
 
4-Pain Management
 
If the patient is experiencing chronic pain, you may prescribe a specific drug regimen. Every person is different, so treatment will be tailored to their needs. Listed below are some suggested drugs that may be prescribed for chronic pain.
 
*HEATING PADS FOR HOME USE SHOW OVERALL IMPROVEMENT FOR PAIN. FOR PATIENTS ON THE GO WE SUGGEST HEAT PATCHES OR HEAT WRAPS SUCH AS THERMACARE  OR OTHER GENERIC BRANDS.
 
 
 
5-Treating Nausea
 
The following drugs and medications are used in the treatment of Nausea/Vomiting.

Drugs associated with Nausea/Vomiting:

  • Antivert
  • Ativan
  • Bonine
  • Compazine
  • Dramamine
  • Phenergen
  • Promethegan
  • Reglan
  • Thorazine
  • Zofran
  • Zofran ODT
  • *WARNING-EXTENDED USE OF REGLAN CAN RESULT IN IRREVERSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS. DO NOT GO BEYOND RECOMMENDED DOSAGE.
*ALTERNATE WAYS TO TREAT NAUSEA
HEATING PADS OR HEAT WRAPS. PEPPERMINT LIFESAVERS AND PEPPERMINT OIL.
 
 

 

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POINTS TO REMEMBER
 
 
 
What is Gastroparesis?
 
Gastroparesis, also called delayed gastric emptying, is a disorder in which the stomach takes too long to empty its contents. Normally, the stomach contracts to move food down into the small intestine for digestion. The vagus nerve controls the movement of food from the stomach through the digestive tract. Gastroparesis occurs when the vagus nerve is damaged and the muscles of the stomach and intestines do not work normally. Food then moves slowly or stops moving through the digestive tract.
 
 
 
What Causes Gastroparesis?
 
The most common cause of gastroparesis is diabetes. People with diabetes have high blood glucose, also called blood sugar, which in turn causes chemical changes in nerves and damages the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the nerves. Over time, high blood glucose can damage the vagus nerve. Recent studies have also shown a genetic factor linked to Gastroparesis.

Other causes of gastroparesis:

  • Surgery on the stomach or vagus nerve
  • Lapband
  • Gastric bypass
  • Gastric sleeve
  • Food poisoning
  • Chemo/radiation therapy
  • Bells Palsy syndrome
  • Ramsey Hunt syndrome
  • ALS/Lou Gehrig's disease
  • Scleroderma
  • Amyloidosis 
  • Viral infections
  • Anorexia nervosa or Bulimia
  • Medications—Anticholinergics and narcotics
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Smooth muscle disorders, such as Amyloidosis
  • Scleroderma
  • Nervous system diseases
  • Stroke
  •  Mitochondrial disease 
  • Abdominal migraine
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • MS/Multiple Sclerosis 
  • Metabolic disorders, including Hypothyroidism

Many people have what is called Idiopathic Gastroparesis, meaning the cause is unknown and cannot be found.

 

What are the symptoms of Gastroparesis?

  • heartburn
  • pain in the upper abdomen
  • nausea
  • vomiting of undigested food—sometimes several hours after a meal
  • early feeling of fullness after only a few bites of food
  • weight loss due to poor absorption of nutrients or low calorie intake
  • abdominal bloating
  • high and low blood glucose levels
  • lack of appetite
  • gastroesophageal reflux
  • spasms in the stomach area

Eating solid foods, high-fiber foods such as raw fruits and vegetables, fatty foods, or drinks high in fat or carbonation may contribute to these symptoms.

The symptoms of gastroparesis may be mild or severe, depending on the person. Symptoms can happen frequently in some people and less often in others. Many people with Gastroparesis experience a wide range of symptoms, and sometimes the disorder is difficult for the physician to diagnose.

Deb Fairchild-Gastroparesis Letter
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'Readers Digest'

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Thank you to all of those who helped by donating your time in creating this Gastroparesis physician guide.

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*Spreading GP Awareness One Person At A Time*
You My Friend Will Never Again Walk Alone
 
2006EWD