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Epigastric Pain and Diabetes

Posted on August 9, 2014 | No Comments on Epigastric Pain and Diabetes

Epigastric pain is a disorder located at the upper abdomen below the ribs that is usually experienced by people who ate or who lies down soon after eating. It is a typical symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or heartburn and is thus, associated with the gastric contents that travel upward into the back of the throat, resulting to burning sensation. However, epigastric pain can also be caused by the inflammation of the digestive organs, such as gastritis and pancreatitis, which in turn can be triggered by chronic hyperglycemia can lead to specific gastro intestinal (GI) complications. Diabetes is a disease that can affect many organ systems including the GI tract. In fact, diabetic patients suffering nephropathy also often suffer from gastro intestinal problems.

One common GI complication caused by diabetes is Gastroparesis in which the delay in food digestion leads to the retention of stomach contents that in turn results to bloating, desire to limit further food intake or satiety, accumulation of gas in the stomach or distention, abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting. It can also lead to gastroesophageal reflux heartburn which in turn causes Epigastric pain.

The cause of GI complications dues to diabetes seem to be related to dysfunction of the neurons supplying the enteric nervous system or enteric neuropathy that leads to defects in intestinal motility, sensation, secretion, and absorption.

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