Diabetes and digestive problems can go hand-in-hand, but symptoms should not be ignored. A telltale sign of type 1 diabetes is high blood sugar, and this is one of the leading causes of gastroparesis, also known as delayed gastric emptying. Some symptoms of gastroparesis include bloating, pain after eating, heartburn, and nausea or vomiting.
Uncontrolled high blood sugar can lead to nerve damage affecting how well the stomach muscles contract and release. It is this motion that pushes food through the stomach and intestines. If this process is not working effectively, the stomach is not fully empty, and food can remain there for long periods of time, causing discomfort. In addition, gastroparesis can affect how well the body absorbs nutrients from various foods and contribute to malnutrition.
To help prevent gastroparesis, diabetes should be managed as effectively as possible to control blood sugar levels and keep them within the target range. To aid with digestion, drink plenty of water throughout the day, and eat several small meals rather than two or three large ones. Limiting fat and fiber consumption can also promote improved stomach emptying, which can reduce discomfort. In addition, engaging in regular exercise not only helps with managing blood sugar, but it can also support digestion.
Diabetes and digestive problems are both conditions that can be managed to reduce the risk of developing gastroparesis. Patients should talk to their doctor about any symptoms they experience and how to improve their diet to support proper digestion and nutrition.
The gastroparesis-diabetes connection is one that is recognized by scientists and something that patients should be aware of. Researchers continue to study these types of conditions to learn more about how they affect diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and quality of life.
The Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) supports diverse research initiatives related to type 1 diabetes by providing critical funding to early-career scientists. Learn more about current projects and how to support these efforts by visiting https://diabetesresearchconnection.org.