2021 Gastroparesis Awareness Month: Putting the Patient First

International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) raises awareness for Gastroparesis Awareness Month to bring the patient story and perspective to life

For Immediate Release 
Media Contact: media@iffgd.org

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (July 1, 2021) — In recent studies, gastroparesis, a chronic gastrointestinal (GI) disorder, affects approximately five million people in the United States. Gastroparesis Awareness Month, established by IFFGD in 2016, takes place every year during the month of August, and IFFGD utilizes its platform to support the gastroparesis community by raising awareness to promote education and encourage research.

For three decades, IFFGD has been a leader in the fight for research to improve diagnostic and treatment options for GI disorders like gastroparesis. “Gastroparesis can be extremely debilitating and life-threatening. Many patients suffer without others knowing what they are battling internally every single day,” says IFFGD president Ceciel T. Rooker.

In 2019, IFFGD surveyed gastroparesis patients on disease impact and medication risk assessment. Patients were asked about their current state of health, and on a scale of 0 being the worst possible health (or as bad as death) to 100 being a normal healthy life, 75% said their current state of health was 50 or below¹. In addition, over half of responders in this survey would be willing to take 11 or more years off their life expectancy to ensure perfect health¹. Lastly, when respondents were asked how much risk they would take for a medication that provides total relief from gastroparesis symptoms, 27% said they are willing to risk a 1 in 100 chance or greater of serious side effects¹.

Research supports the importance of understanding how gastroparesis uniquely impacts the quality of life of many patients. This August, IFFGD will raise awareness to humanize this commonly misunderstood and often misdiagnosed condition by highlighting patient stories throughout the month. #ThisIsGP — the theme for Gastroparesis Awareness Month 2021, provides an opportunity for patients living with gastroparesis to share their stories and experiences with others worldwide.

Gastroparesis, also referred to as delayed gastric emptying, is a chronic digestive condition characterized by symptoms that can vary from life-limiting to life-threatening. Some refer to it as having a paralyzed stomach (Gastro = Stomach and Paresis = paralysis). Symptoms usually occur during or after a meal and can appear suddenly or gradually. 

Symptoms of gastroparesis typically include:

  • Nausea and/or vomiting 
  • Stomach pain and discomfort
  • Dry heaves
  • Stomach fullness after a normal-sized meal
  • Early fullness and the inability to finish a meal 

In recognition of Gastroparesis Awareness Month, IFFGD will launch a campaign to acknowledge the quality of life for patients and their illness journey — using the official hashtag on social media #ThisIsGP. “Patients living with gastroparesis are not alone in their journey. IFFGD will continue to raise awareness and encourage more research to help those still suffering,” said Ms. Rooker.

During Gastroparesis Awareness Month, IFFGD invites patients to share their stories of living with gastroparesis using #ThisIsGP. IFFGD’s Gastroparesis Awareness Month materials include a media toolkit with statistics and key messaging to post on social media, one campaign poster, one website banner, and thirty-six social media images. Click here to download the official Gastroparesis Awareness Month material.

¹IFFGD. (2019). An Online Study Gastroparesis Patients: Disease Impact and Medication Risk Assessment

About IFFGD 

The International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) is a nonprofit education and research organization dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by a chronic gastrointestinal disorder. Founded in 1991, IFFGD helps improve care by enhancing awareness, improving education, and supporting and encouraging research into treatments and cures for chronic digestive diseases. 

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IFFGD is a nonprofit education and research organization. Our mission is to inform, assist, and support people affected by gastrointestinal disorders.

Our original content is authored specifically for IFFGD readers, in response to your questions and concerns.

If you found this article helpful, please consider supporting IFFGD with a small tax-deductible donation.

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