August Is Gastroparesis Awareness Month

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The Florida Department of Health (DOH) is joining the Gastroparesis Awareness Campaign Organization in recognizing Gastroparesis Awareness Month.

According to the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, gastroparesis is a disorder in which the stomach takes too long to empty its contents. Specifically, gastroparesis is the result of damage to the vagus nerve, which controls the movement of food through the digestive system. For persons afflicted with gastroparesis, food remains in the stomach instead of continuing through the digestive tract normally.

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“DOH encourages all Floridians to be personally responsible for their health,” State Surgeon General Ana M. Viamonte Ros, M.D., M.P.H., said. “Living a healthy lifestyle by engaging in physical activity and eating appropriately is the best way to prevent disease and illness.”

The most common cause of gastroparesis is diabetes, though other causes include viral infections, anorexia nervosa or bulimia, nervous system diseases including Parkinson’s disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and certain metabolic disorders including hypothyroidism. Some people have idiopathic gastroparesis, meaning the cause is unknown.

With the rise in obesity, there is also an increase in the number of persons with Type 2 diabetes, and thus gastroparesis is becoming more prevalent as well. Without proper management, gastroparesis can be a debilitating chronic disease. Gastroparesis affects an estimated four percent of the population.

The mission of DOH is to promote, protect and improve the health of all people in Florida.

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