My Vocabulary’s Expanding

I learned a new word! It’s gastroparesis. I learned it from the Facebook Chronic Kidney Disease support pages. What does it mean? According to the American Heritage Medical Dictionary, it means:

“A disorder characterized by delayed movement of food from the stomach into the small intestine because of impaired stomach motility, resulting in nausea, vomiting, and a feeling of fullness.”

Wait a minute; I forgot to tell you the winners of the Birthday Book Giveaway Contest:

Pamela Thacker’s copy of SlowItDownCKD 2016 is on the way to her. Donna Steely-Arnold, I will be only too glad to send out your copy of The Book of Blogs: Moderate Stage Chronic Kidney Disease, Part 2, as soon as you email your address to me. Catherine Lombard (Forgive me for referring to you as Carole; she was a famous actress back in the ‘30s.), your prize of SlowItDownCKD 2015 is also on its way to you. Congratulations to each of you on being the first three readers to comment about last week’s blog.

Okey-dokey, back to business. Of course you’re eager to know what gastroparesis has to do with Chronic Kidney Disease. Well, I am anyway.

This is from Healthline at https://www.healthline.com/health/type-2-diabetes/gastroparesis#risk-factors:

“Women with diabetes have a high risk for developing gastroparesis. Other conditions can compound your risk of developing the disorder, including previous abdominal surgeries or a history of eating disorders.

Diseases and conditions other than diabetes can cause gastroparesis, such as:

  • viral infections
  • acid reflux disease
  • smooth muscle disorders

Other illnesses can cause gastroparesis symptoms, including:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • chronic pancreatitis
  • cystic fibrosis
  • kidney disease
  • Turner’s syndrome”

Right off the bat we can see a connection… diabetes. Remember that diabetes is the leading cause of CKD. Now look toward the bottom of this incomplete list of risk factors…kidney disease. Uh-oh.

I jumped right over to the MayoClinic at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gastroparesis/symptoms-causes/syc-20355787 for an explanation:

“Certain medications, such as opioid pain relievers, some antidepressants, and high blood pressure and allergy medications, can lead to slow gastric emptying and cause similar symptoms. For people who already have gastroparesis, these medications may make their condition worse.”

You remembered! Yes, high blood pressure is the second most common cause of CKD. Usually if you have hypertension, you take medication to control it. Sometimes, you take the same medication to help control your CKD even if you don’t have hbp.

According to WebMD at https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/tc/chronic-kidney-disease-medications, the following medications which are usually prescribed if you have hbp may also be prescribed if you have CKD with or without high blood pressure:

ACE inhibitors and ARBs. These may be used if you have protein in your urine (proteinuria) or have heart failure. Regular blood tests are required to make sure that these medicines don’t raise potassium levels (hyperkalemia) or make kidney function worse.”

I still wasn’t satisfied that I understood how the CKD and gastroparesis are connected so I delved further. The Cleveland Clinic at https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/09/gastroparesis-know-the-risk-factors-for-this-mysterious-stomach-condition/ was a bit helpful:

“If you have diabetes, gastroparesis can cause it to be poorly controlled. Severe gastroparesis makes it difficult to manage your blood sugar.”

The American Diabetes Association at http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/gastroparesis.html further explains:

“The vagus nerve controls the movement of food through the digestive tract. If the vagus nerve is damaged or stops working, the muscles of the stomach and intestines do not work normally, and the movement of food is slowed or stopped.

Just as with other types of neuropathy, diabetes can damage the vagus nerve if blood glucose levels remain high over a long period of time. High blood glucose causes chemical changes in nerves and damages the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the nerves.”

Maybe we need to understand why we have to manage our blood sugar in the first place.

“Blood sugar, or blood glucose, is sugar that the bloodstream carries to all the cells in the body to supply energy. Blood sugar or blood glucose measurements represent the amount of sugar being transported in the blood during one instant.

The sugar comes from the food we eat. The human body regulates blood glucose levels so that they are neither too high nor too low. The blood’s internal environment must remain stable for the body to function. This balance is known as homeostasis.”

Thank you for that information, MedicalNewsToday at https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/249413.php. Diabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar is too high… and it can be one of many causes of gastroparesis.

Apparently, gastroparesis is of more concern if you are on dialysis. I know, define dialysis. Let’s take a look at the definition MedicineNet at https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=2980 offers.

“The process of removing waste products and excess fluid from the body. Dialysis is necessary when the kidneys are not able to adequately filter the blood.”

And how does gastroparesis affect dialysis patients? Dr. William F. Finn, Professor of Medicine, University of North Carolina School of Medicine; Attending Physician, University of North Carolina Hospitals, Chapel Hill explained during an interview. He used terms that we, as laypeople, can readily understand.

“It has been known for many years that as patients develop progressively severe CKD, their condition may be complicated by nutritional deficiency and even overt malnutrition due to the gradual loss of appetite and inadequate caloric and protein intake…. Indeed, there is evidence that the intake of calories, including protein, decreases as renal insufficiency advances…. As a consequence, in patients with advanced CKD and in those treated with chronic hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis, there is a high prevalence of what is referred to as “protein-energy malnutrition.” This condition may involve up to 40% or more of the patients and is an important issue because there is a strong association between malnutrition and increased risk of morbidity and mortality…. In fact, in patients undergoing dialysis, “undernutrition” is one of the most common risk factors for adverse cardiovascular events and death…. It has been demonstrated repeatedly and consistently that a low serum albumin level and decreased protein intake are strongly associated with increased mortality in patients with CKD….”

You can read the entire interview on Medscape at https://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/545157.

Until next week,

Keep living your life!

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thank you Gail – I can’t wait to get your book! My email is dsteely@dunnanddunn.com. And oh, I have CKD (Stage IV) and I also have gastroparesis. Not fun.

  2. You are very welcome. However, Donna, you’ll need to email me your Physical Address so I can mail the book to you. I am so sorry to hear about the gastroparesis.


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