Monday, December 31, 2007

Gastroparesis: Symptoms and treatment

Gastroparesis-(gas-troh-pah-REE-sis) Gastro-means stomach. Paresis means impairment or paralysis. It is a disorder in which the stomach takes too long to empty its contents. It often occurs in people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. This condition happens when nerves to the stomach are damaged or stop working. The vagus nerve controls the movement of food through the digestive tract and if this nerve is damaged, the muscles of the stomach and intestines don't work normally and the movement of food is slowed or stopped.

If the blood glucose levels of a diabetic remain high over a long period of time the vagus nerve can be damaged because high levels of blood glucose causes chemical changes in nerves and damages the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to these nerves.

Some signs and symptoms are:

1. Bloating and pain in belly. May burp a lot(rotten egg smell) and have heartburn.
2. Nausea.
3. Vomiting of undigested food, or dry heaves.
4. An early feeling of fullness when eating.
5. Lack of appetite and weight loss.
6. Erratic blood glucose levels.

A person with this condition may feel fine for days or weeks at a time, but then have hours or days of vomiting. The above symptoms may be mild to severe, depending on the person.

There are several major complications of Gastroparesis. If food lingers in the stomach too long it can cause bacterial overgrowth from the fermentation of food. The food can harden into solid masses called bezoars that may cause pain, nausea, vomiting, and obstruction in the stomach.

It can also make diabetes worse by adding to the difficulty of controlling blood glucose because when stomach emptying is unpredictable, a person's blood glucose level can be erratic.

They can diagnosis Gastroparesis by using Barium tests, Radioisotope gastric-emptying scan, Gastric manometry, and blood tests.

The primary treatment goal for Gastroparesis related to diabetis is to regain control of blood glucose levels. These treatments include insulin, oral medications, and changes in what and when you eat. It is a chronic condition and there is no cure. To help control your blood glucose levels you may need to take insulin more often, or take your insulin after you eat instead of before.

Some of the medications used are Reglan, Erythromycin, and Domperidone.

Changes in your eating habits may help. Some of those changes may be: a) eat six small meals a day instead of three large meals, b) avoid high-fat and high-fiber foods because fat naturally slows digestion and fiber is difficult to digest, c) avoid foods such as figs, berries, apples, oranges, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and green beans because the indigestible parts will remain in the stomach too long and possible form bezoars, d) eat meals more slowly and completely chew food, e) sit up at least an hour after eating.

Please do not self diagnosis. If you have any of these symptoms, please see your doctor. Feel free to print out this information and share it with your doctor.

How to explain death to a small child

My son was only 3 years old when his great grandmother died. They were very close and I knew that he would miss her a lot. I knew that a lot of people explained death to children by telling them that the person just went to sleep. To me that was a wrong explanation because I can just imagine being a child and being told that. I would be so afraid to go to sleep because I would be scared that I would not wake up. I would have nightmares and I did not want that for my son.

I thought long and hard about how to explain it to him and then it hit me. He knew about the post office and how you mail letters out, and though we did not go to church regularly, he did know about God. Against some people's advice I took him to the funeral home for a brief time to say good bye to his great grandmother. Before we went inside the funeral home, I told him that Nana would be lying in God's envelope and that she would not be able to talk to him or hug him. I told him that she was already living with God, and that we were getting ready to "mail" her body to God. I also told him that her body would be cold to touch because she was not really here. He walked up to the casket , asked me to pick him up so he could see, then he kissed his fingers and laid them on her cheek, told her he loved her and to have fun with God.

I did not take him to the actual funeral or cemetery. With this approach he did not have nightmares, nor was he afraid to go to sleep. Also, when we passed a cemetery, he would say there is God's post office.

Crazy nutrition label

I was making a cake for my grandson the other day and I turned the box on its side to read the nutrition label because my husband is a diabetic. He likes to have a small treat now and then and I was wanting to see how much he could have and the amount of carbs in that serving. I have glanced at nutrition labels but never really took the time to read them before except to get serving size and carb amount.

Imagine my surprise when I saw that the serving size was listed as "1/12 package(43g mix) and that there were 12 servings per container. Reading it the way it was written, it made it sound like you were suppose to eat just the mix, not a cooked cake. And then it goes on to list calories, total fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbs, and protein not only for the baked cake but also for the mix. Now come on, who in the world cares about how much of that stuff is just in the mix. I do not know of anyone who is going to sit down and measure out 43 g of mix in a bowl, grab a spoon and sit down in front of the television and eat it. YUK!

Yeah, I admit that I like to lick the bowl but that is after the cake is mixed up. I cannot imagine sitting down and eating just the cake mix straight from the box. So tell me, why list all that information and say that a serving is 43 g mix. A person who is watching their carbs, sodium, fat intake, etc only cares about what is in the finished product and the size they can have for that amount.

I believe that these companies should sit down and rewrite their nutrition labels because right now they are really silly sounding. Next time you make a cake, pancakes, or whatever, check out the nutrition label. They provide valuable information but in the same sense, they are good for a laugh because the image of someone sitting in front of the television eating a bowl of dry cake mix is kind of funny.

Happy Pre-New Year!

Today is December 31, 2007, the last day of the year. The past year has been a long road with many twists and turns for me. And it has been a rough year also. I am hoping and praying that 2008 will be a bit smoother ride for us. Everyone says things have to get better, that God doesn't give you more than you can handle. Well, I must say that I have had about all I can handle. My hands are full. God has been handing me a lot since 2004 when my husband became ill and had to quit work. But this blog is not meant to be a "pity party". It is meant to wish everyone a very "HAPPY NEW YEAR."

Starting in 2008 you will find entries with recipes, health information, general information, news about my business specials, etc. I am an independent rep for Winter Garden Aromatics, a wonderful place to buy wax melt away tarts and bath and beauty products. You can find more about this company on my web site, The Shopping Emporium, at