I have talked to a few people online that thought they had gastroparesis, but their doctor’s didn’t think that it was necessary to do the testing to confirm that. Diabetes in Control had an article about a study done by the Mayo Clinic that showed only 5% of Type 1s actually get gastroparesis and only 1% of Type 2s. They felt that anytime a diabetic has a stomach issue, gastroparesis is the diagnosis. You can read the full article here.
I know that I have seen much larger percentages. I just did a quick Google search while writing this and saw numbers as high as 55% of diabetics having gastroparesis. The article doesn’t state anything about the population of the people they studied. My feeling about most complications is that those of us that have been diagnosed longer have a greater chance of getting complications because the things we know and do today did not exist back then. If this study has only followed fairly newly diagnosed people (the study did last 10 years) that mostly only ever used the newer insulins and knew to test after meals, then that could explain the lower rate.
I have always felt that someone should get tested for gastroparesis if they suspect they have it. Treatment options using drugs are very slim in the US. The main drug used is Reglan and it has some horrible, non-reversible side effects. My sister is a nurse and when she heard I had been given a script for it, she warned me about using it. She saw the side effects first hand. I decided to just get enough to try for a week and see how it went. When I came home and read about your eyes rolling back in your head on the list of side effects, I decided it was not worth trying.
I manage by diet alone. The diet for gastroparesis is very strict as far as what you can and cannot eat. If you really don’t have gastroparesis, then you would be giving up a lot of foods for no reason. Granted if you get pains in your stomach and barf every time you eat broccoli, then give up broccoli. But if there is no real reason other than you don’t like a food, then I would suggest getting tested. You can see what the diet is like here.
I had the gastric emptying test done. I pretty much knew that mine would come back with my having gastroparesis because I had two other stomach tests that showed food in my stomach when I had not eaten. The test is fairly easy other than having to lay flat on a table. You eat a radioactive meal (I was given eggs) which sounds worse than what it is. I was asked to at least eat the eggs. I figured the more food I had in my stomach the slower it would be so I ate the full plate. You lay on a table and a camera above you follows the food thru your stomach. Your test results will show how much food is left in your stomach and whether you have gastroparesis and to what degree you do.
If your doctor is insisting that you have gastroparesis but doesn’t want to run the testing, show him the Diabetes in Control article and insist on having the testing done.
I don’t know all that much about gastroparesis – thanks for the link and for describing the diet and the test. I’m fine – but you never know when things could change, so I appreciate learning more about it.
Thanks Karen. I hope that you never need to use the information!