What is Diabetic Neuropathy?
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Patient and Family Carer Experience
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Gastroparesis is a stomach condition estimated to affect 25% of people with diabetes to a greater or lesser extent. It is caused by neuropathy affecting the nerves of the stomach so that the stomach muscles do not work properly and the food remains in the digestive system for a longer time than normal. The symptoms include:
- abdominal bloating, discomfort and/or pain
- feeling full soon after eating
- indigestion or heartburn
In addition, as the food remains in the stomach for a longer time, gastroparesis affects blood glucose control which can result in erratic blood sugars.
In the US a company, Medtronic, Inc, has developed an implantable device that has been shown to improve the symptoms of gastroparesis. The device delivers mild electrical pulses to the nerves in the stomach which stimulate digestion. A study involving 100 patients from various countries, showed that there was a variety of responses to the device but 93% of the participants vomited less than half as many times after using the device and most of them felt better after using the device. This treatment is called Enterra therapy and has been available in the US since March 2000.