“August marks Gastroparesis Awareness Month. Gastroparesis is a chronic condition that prevents proper movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine. Food can sit in the stomach for days or weeks at a time.

“While its severity varies from person to person, what is common with gastroparesis is its impact on an individual’s quality of life.  

“Those living with gastroparesis experience nausea and vomiting, stomach pain, bloating and loss of appetite. The inability to properly process food is not only debilitating, it can lead to other complications such as dehydration, malnutrition and changes in blood sugar levels. Diet is a particular concern for those living with diabetes – which is the most common risk of developing gastroparesis.

“Other causes are linked to nervous system disorders like Parkinson’s disease, strokes, the use of some medication including antidepressants and opioids, and people living with hypothyroidism.

“This month is an opportunity to improve understanding and encourage strategies to reduce risks of gastroparesis such as eating several small meals a day (rather than two large meals), eating foods low in fat and fiber, chewing slowly, avoiding carbonated drinks and drinking plenty of water.

“Alberta Health Services offers nutrition services for all Albertans and guidance for those managing diabetes and gastroparesis. Albertans may also have access to nutrition counselling and education through their Primary Care Network.”