Monday, June 2, 2008

ANOREXIA & BULIMIA: THE HORROR OF GASTROPARESIS

Aimee Moore

Aimee Moore's mother has watched her child battle eating disorders for 15 years, a pattern of behaviour that had her daughter purge as often as 150 times a day and become a skeleton with skin


Aimee Moore

In a recent update on my blog post, ANOREXIA & BULIMIA: THE TRAGIC LIFE OF AIMEE MOORE, it was reported that Aimee is suffering from gastroparesis:

"Aimee Moore, the Stratford woman with an extreme eating disorder, is now seeking intravenous feeding to nourish her starving body.

Moore, who spent seven weeks in an Alabama treatment facility after being featured on the Dr. Phil show, has continued to battle anorexia and bulimia since her early departure from the facility April 10.

She recently began investigating options for intravenous feeding after learning from doctors that little else can be done to treat gastroparesis, a digestive disorder which causes her extreme pain when she eats normally.

Medication hasn't been effective.

"It took me a while to process everything they were trying to tell me, but they convinced me I need this," the 68-pound Moore said last week.

With gastroparesis, the stomach takes too long to empty its contents, because of damage to a nerve which controls the movement of food from the stomach through the digestive tract."

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Since that update, I received a comment from the grandmother who often leaves comments on my blog posts regarding her granddaughter's condition. Her granddaughter is suffering from anorexia nervosa, and has also been diagnosed as suffering from gastroparesis. Here is her comment:

"Anonymous said...

I am the Anonymous with the anorexic granddaughter. She, too, suffers from gastroparesis and is in constant pain from the tiniest spoonfuls of food. She spent 6 months or more on intravenous, then had a feeding tube installed. Now she's staying alive on a babyfood jar of pears in a week, a supernutrient solution ($1000 per week) introduced 3-4 times daily, and an unlimited supply of CANDY to keep her blood sugar from crashing and her going into a coma. But the N.D. seems to be helping, and she does want to live. Hopefully it isn't already too late.
May 26, 2008 5:52 PM"
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The following is a description of gastroparesis from the Mayo Clinic:


Gastroparesis

Stomach


Your stomach is a muscular sac located in the upper middle of your abdomen, just below your ribs. If you're an average adult, it's about the size of a small melon, but can stretch to hold nearly 1 gallon of food and liquid. Your stomach folds in on itself when it's empty and expands when you eat or drink.

The walls of your stomach are lined with three layers of powerful muscles that mix food with enzymes and acids produced by glands in your stomach's inner lining. Once the food is thoroughly pulverized — reduced to the consistency of porridge — strong muscular contractions (peristaltic waves) push it toward the pyloric valve, which leads to the upper portion of your small intestine (duodenum), where the real work of digestion takes place. The valve opens just enough to release a scant eighth of an ounce of food at a time.

It may take three to four hours for your stomach to empty after you eat, depending on your diet — foods high in fat can prolong the emptying time considerably. The slowness of the process ensures that food is thoroughly mixed with digestive juices for the best possible absorption.

Why the stomach stops working

Arguably the most important nerve in your body, the vagus nerve stretches from your brainstem to your colon. It helps orchestrate the complex microcircuits in your digestive tract, including signaling the smooth muscles in your stomach to contract in peristaltic waves — usually at the rate of about three contractions a minute. When these contractions slow or stop completely, food doesn't move out of your stomach into the duodenum as it should.

Damage to the vagus nerve is the leading cause of gastroparesis, although the disorder can also result from damage to the stomach muscles themselves. Factors that can damage nerves or muscles in your stomach include:

Diabetes

Affecting people with either type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, this is one of the most common causes of gastroparesis. Over time, high blood glucose levels and their metabolic effects can damage the vagus nerve and disrupt its normal functioning. Once gastroparesis develops, diabetes often becomes worse because erratic stomach emptying and poor absorption make blood sugar levels harder to control.

Surgery

Operations involving your esophagus, stomach or upper part of your small intestine can injure the vagus nerve and lead to gastroparesis. Symptoms may develop immediately after the surgery or appear years later.

Medications

Many commonly prescribed drugs slow stomach emptying. Chief among these are narcotic pain medications, tricyclic antidepressants and calcium channel blockers. Antacids that contain aluminum hydroxide, some high blood pressure medications and the psychiatric drug lithium also can disrupt the normal functioning of the stomach. Symptoms usually improve once you stop taking the medication.

Cancer treatments

Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of chemotherapy because most anti-cancer drugs target fast-growing cells throughout your body, including healthy cells in your intestinal tract. The nausea and vomiting are usually temporary and improve when treatment ends.

But some people receiving high doses of chemotherapy drugs may develop intractable nausea and vomiting as a result of chemotherapy-induced gastroparesis. In that case, problems with the stomach being able to move food (motility problems) originate in the nausea center of the brainstem, just above the spinal cord. Radiation therapy to the chest and abdomen also can cause gastroparesis.

Other disorders

A number of other medical conditions can cause gastroparesis, including anorexia and bulimia, the connective tissue disease scleroderma, Parkinson's disease and other nervous system illnesses, and metabolic disorders such as hypothyroidism. For reasons that aren't clear, some otherwise healthy people develop gastroparesis after a bout of the flu or other viral illness.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

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My heart goes out to both Anonymous's granddaughter and Aimee Moore, and to all those suffering from gastroparesis. It is a horrific disorder.




LINKS:

http://news.therecord.com/article/329264
http://news.therecord.com/printArticle/336239
http://news.therecord.com/article/338098
http://news.therecord.com/News/Local/article/356100
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/gastroparesis/DS00612/DSECTION=3

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3 comments:

Medusa said...

The following comment was posted on my mirror blog on Healthcare.com
(http://blogs.healthcare.com/medusa)on a copy of this post. Because it is so important, I am posting it here:

"Comment by LifE AbUnDaNtlY!!! on August 13, 2008 @ 9:32 am | Edit This

My sympathy & heart fully goes out to anybody who has someone close to them go through an eating disorder. Even more so, my heart extends to the individual who is dealing with it herself.

I myself know from experience….being anorexic and bulemic for years, developed gastroparisis, then I became a compulsive overeater b/c I knew I could eat anything I wanted & throw it up. With endless cycles of bad eating habits and a wacked out & obsessive mind I finally realized I hated the life I was living, in need of help, and admitted myself to Remuda Ranch, AZ. (highly recommended!!!)

Today…after years of battling with recovery I can finally say that I am FREE from the battle & addiction to eating disorders that nearly took my life! My mind is practically new—-not having to deal with the overpowering thoughts of weight, food, and depression. I have permanently damaged my stomach b/c of the disorder and to this day still deal with gastroparisis. But I will tell you, if you can get past the eating disorder & “mind” issues….gastroparisis is nothing compared…it’s only a SMALL part of it.

There is one thing I can tell you! (ok…maybe more than one thing) :)….& it is this….keeping praying, being there, and loving the one that is dealing with the disorder. I honestly believe it is by the prayers & support of those around me, I am alive to day. There is hope! Don’t lose sight of it…along as they are alive, there is hope! In terms of gastroparisis….non creamy, non fiberous, not raw foods are the best.

KEEP HOPING PRAYING> SUPPORTING> LIVING> there is hope & there is a God who can work in the midst of the craziest storms."

Anonymous said...

I am a mom of my 25 year old daughter who has gasteoparisis and stomach migranes.
My daughter cannot work and none of the current medications are helping her.
I have lost sight as to how many medications she is on. She has had so many. She struggles to try to do yoga which she can on do occassion,and because she is in so much pain we do no know what to do. Her boyfriend does not work and both are hard to help as neither of them work as he looks after her. Should we convince her to hospitalize herself into the phsycriatric ward for monitoring?

Anonymous said...

Urine therapy is beneficial for that.