Gastroparesis: Quality of Life and Symptom Burdens for Patients

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Studies show that gastroparesis, a chronic gastrointestinal (GI) disorder, is estimated to affect up to five million people in the United States. The symptoms of this condition can be debilitating and sometimes life-threatening.

Throughout the month of August, the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) will raise awareness about the symptom burdens and quality of life for those living with gastroparesis – the theme for Gastroparesis Awareness Month 2020. “Patients living with this digestive disorder may suffer from a variety of symptoms which pose a tremendous impact on their daily lives,” says IFFGD president, Ceciel T. Rooker.

Gastroparesis Awareness Month, established by IFFGD in 2016, takes place every year during the month of August. During this time and throughout the year IFFGD utilizes their platform to support the gastroparesis community by raising awareness to promote education and encourage research.

Gastroparesis, also called delayed gastric emptying, is a chronic digestive condition characterized by symptoms that can vary from life-limiting to life-threatening and often persist or reoccur over time. Some refer to it as having a paralyzed stomach (Gastro = Stomach and Paresis = paralysis). Symptoms usually occur during or after a meal and can appear suddenly or gradually.

Symptoms typically include: 

  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Stomach pain and discomfort
  • Dry heaves
  • Stomach fullness after a normal-sized meal
  • Early fullness and the inability to finish a meal

Additionally, “the symptoms of gastroparesis – nausea, vomiting, stomach fullness, can affect patients differently, with different severities. In some patients, the nausea is bad, whereas in others, the abdominal pain can be particularly severe,” says Temple University’s Gastroenterology Vice Chair of Research, Henry P. Parkman, MD.

In recognition of Gastroparesis Awareness Month, IFFGD will launch a campaign that acknowledges the symptom burdens and quality of life for patients — using the hashtags #MyGPlife and #GastroparesisAwarenessMonth. “Many patients with gastroparesis, as well as their caregivers, are greatly affected by the burden afflicted in gastroparesis,” said Dr. Parkman. During Gastroparesis Awareness Month, we invite you to share your story about what it is like living with gastroparesis using #MyGPlife.

Find the Gastroparesis Awareness Month Media Toolkit and campaign images by visiting here.

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