Diabetics witness fluctuations in their blood glucose level all the time. But for some, the glucose level can dip dangerously low, especially in the middle of the night. Such frequent episodes can even send you to the emergency room and you’re left wondering what’s wrong. What you don’t realise is that your dinner is not being digested at all!
Delayed Stomach Emptying
One of the reasons could be that you are suffering from gastroparesis. Commonly known as delayed gastric emptying, it’s a disorder that decreases and obstructs the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine. Gastroparesis may be caused by muscle disorders and surgeries on the stomach. But the leading cause of this condition is diabetes. Chronic disease like diabetes can lead to serious stomach problems such as gastroparesis. Diabetes hampers the nerves inside the stomach and the nerves responsible for the transfer of signals from the brains to the nerves, distracting its ability to function.
Gastroparesis is a kind of neuropathy where the food is held up in the stomach for long. Delay in digestion can worsen the situation. The top muscles in the stomach should work properly so that the lower and middle part of the abdomen can contract in order to break the food before pushing it into the small intestine The interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) gives out signals that adjust the strength and the regularity in the contraction of the gastrointestinal muscles. When these cells are distorted the abdomen fails to contract in the right way leading to delayed stomach emptying. The deficit of ICC is one of the most common defects in delayed stomach emptying, which happens due to diabetes. Diabetic patients have active immune cells inside the stomach that can lead to gastroparesis.
Other causes that lead to gastroparesis are anorexia nervosa, post viral syndromes, surgeries on the stomach or on the vagus nerve also lead to delayed stomach emptying. Gastroparesis can take place because of medications like narcotics and anticholinergics as these drugs can decrease the speed of contraction in the intestine. Smooth muscle disorders like amyloids and scleroderma, nervous system diseases such as abdominal migraine, Parkinson’s disease and metabolic disorders like hypothyroidism can also lead to gastroparesis.