Patients with gastroparesis may experience symptoms for 5 years before they receive an accurate diagnosis. This indicates that broader awareness among health care providers and the public, and better treatments remain necessary to improve care and outcomes, according to a press release.
As part of Gastroparesis Awareness Month this August, the Temple University School of Medicine and the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) published survey results to increase knowledge about the disorder.
“Our research shows that general health and social function are especially decreased in people with gastroparesis,” Ceciel T. Rooker, executive director of IFFGD, said in the release. “Treatment improvements are needed that target not only symptoms, but also quality of life issues for people with gastroparesis.”
Symptoms of gastroparesis, which can appear suddenly or gradually, vary and typically include nausea and/or vomiting, dry heaves, stomach fullness after smaller meals, early fullness and inability to finish a meal, according to the release. Treatments for managing symptoms like nausea, abdominal pain and vomiting are greatly needed as they are considered the most troubling to these patients. Current treatment options include dietary/lifestyle measures, medication and nutrition supplementation, but extreme cases may include tube feeding or surgery, the press release said.
Broader awareness of the condition and better care is warranted to effectively address the needs currently unmet in these patients, according to the press release.
“When [symptoms] occur, a visit to a health care provider is in order,” Rooker said. “Treatment that is more effective can begin with an accurate diagnosis from a doctor.”
Disclosure: Rooker is the executive director of IFFGD.