Research Survey Reveals Unmet Needs of People with Gastroparesis
Awareness of this digestive condition is critical to improving health for patients
For Immediate Release
MILWAUKEE, WI (August 1, 2017) – Gastroparesis, also called delayed gastric emptying, is a chronic digestive condition where certain symptoms persist or reoccur long-term and the stomach does not empty properly. It significantly impacts the daily living and quality of life or those affected.
People in the community with the disorder struggle with symptoms for an average of 5 years before they obtain an accurate diagnosis, according to a survey published by the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) and researchers from Temple University School of Medicine. Greater awareness among healthcare providers and the public, as well as more and better treatments, are needed to improve care and outcomes for people and families affected.
"Our research shows that general health and social function are especially decreased in people with gastroparesis," said Ceciel T. Rooker, Executive Director of IFFGD. "Treatment improvements are needed that target not only symptoms, but also quality of life issues for people with gastroparesis."
August is Gastroparesis Awareness Month. During this time, and throughout the year, IFFGD works to raise awareness about this disorder.
Symptoms of gastroparesis usually occur during or after a meal and can appear suddenly or gradually. Symptoms typically include:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Dry heaves
- Stomach fullness after a normal sized meal
- Early fullness and inability to finish a meal
Additional symptoms may occur, such as bloating, stomach discomfort or pain, loss of appetite, and heartburn, among others. Patients regard nausea, abdominal pain, and vomiting as the most troubling, and the symptoms for which treatments are most needed.
"Symptoms like those of gastroparesis can occur for a number of reasons," said Rooker. "When they occur, a visit to a healthcare provider is in order. Treatment that is most effective can begin with an accurate diagnosis from a doctor."
Current treatments aimed at managing symptoms may include one or a combination of:
- Dietary and lifestyle measures
- Nutrition supplementation
In some severe cases, treatments may include tube feeding to maintain nutrition, or a surgical procedure.
Gastroparesis can occur in people of all ages. Most commonly the cause is unknown (idiopathic) or a complication of long-standing diabetes. Gastroparesis can also arise as a complication of other diseases, surgeries, or medications.
More needs to be done to raise awareness and improve care and treatment for people with gastroparesis. Broader understanding of the disorder and the patient experience helps more effectively address the needs of people affected by gastroparesis.
About the Survey
Developed by IFFGD in collaboration with clinical researchers at Temple University School of Medicine, the confidential online survey of 1,423 respondents with gastroparesis looked at "The Burdens, Concerns, and Quality of Life of Adults with Gastroparesis." Results, by Yu D, Ramsey FV, et al, were published in the medical journal, Digestive Diseases and Sciences, January 21, 2017.
The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) is a nonprofit education and research organization dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by a functional gastrointestinal or motility disorder. Founded in 1991, IFFGD helps improve care by enhancing awareness, improving education, and supporting research into treatments and cures for chronic digestive conditions. Learn more at www.iffgd.org.
View a summary report of the Gastroparesis in the Community Survey.