Gastroparesis is a medical condition that is characterized by partial paralysis of the stomach, which forces food to remain in the digestive system for unusually long periods of time. Movement of food from the stomach to small intestines is usually facilitated by the contraction and relaxation of stomach muscles, courtesy of the vagus nerve.
Gastroparesis essentially damages the vagus nerve and also impairs muscles in the stomach and small intestines, thus causing paresis. Partial paralysis therefore inhibits normal functioning of the stomach, which results in extremely slow movement of food through that part of the digestive system. The condition is also known as delayed gastric emptying.
A patient who is infected with Gastroparesis typically exhibits four main symptoms; chronic nausea, feeling of being satiated even after eating very little food, vomiting and abdominal pain.
The patient may also exhibit one or more of the following additional symptoms; palpitations, body ache, heart burn , muscle weakness, abdominal pain, heavy sweating at night, inconsistent blood sugar levels, malnutrition, weight loss, loss of appetite, spasms in the stomach walls and gastro-esophageal reflux.
Autonomic neuropathy is the main cause of Gastroparesis. It generally occurs in people who suffer from Diabetes Insipidus and Mellitus. The high levels of blood glucose usually affect chemical changes in nerves. As a result, the vagus nerve gets damaged due to several years of insufficient transportation of glucose and high blood-glucose levels.
Other possible causes of the medical condition are; bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa, connective tissue diseases (e.g. Ehlers Danlos Syndrome or scleroderma) and neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease.
Gastroparesis can also be a result of abdominal surgery, heavy cigarette smoking or the deficiency of chloride, zinc, iodide or sodium.
If a patient fails to treat Gastroparesis in time, he/she may suffer from the following complication;
- Fluctuations in the levels of blood -glucose as a result of unpredictable digestion times.
- Bacterial infection caused by micro organisms that grow on undigested food.
- General malnutrition as a result of reduced appetite and frequent vomiting.
- Intestinal obstruction caused by formation of bezoars.
- Weight loss and severe fatigue because of insufficient calories.
The medical condition is diagnosed using any or a combination of the following methods;
- Upper Gastro Intestinal Endoscopy
- Gastric Emptying -Breath Test
- Upper GI series
- Gastric Emptying Scintigraphy
Use of Iodide in the Treatment of Gastroparesis
Iodide can be very effective in the treatment of Gastroparesis. It basically works as a pacemaker or neuro-stimulator in the stomach. When iodide is administered as a drug, it activates previously impaired muscles in the small intestines and stomach, thus enabling the (muscles) to efficiently pass food from the stomach to small intestines. This action forces open the pylorus and eventually, the stomach gets emptied.
Iodide is also effective in treating gastroparesis that is caused by deficiency of vital nutrients such as Iodide. Administration of iodide therefore enables the stomach to generate sufficient gastric acid/ HCI that is ordinarily required to enable it (stomach) get rid of food, which effectively passes into the small intestines.
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