PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — August is gastroparesis awareness month. The stomach disorder affects approximately five million people in the United States. Medical experts said there is no cure for gastroparesis, but there are ways to mitigate it so people can eat somewhat normally again.
"It was really exacerbating. I just, I never felt well," said Loranne Cass. "I couldn't get out of bed. The pain was awful, and I couldn't eat. When it came to the point where I had to, I could only have liquids."
Loranne Cass of Palm Beach Gardens started to experience serious stomach issues last fall. She couldn't eat normally like before.
Cass was diagnosed with gastroparesis, a partial paralysis of the stomach that causes food to stay in the stomach instead of moving into the intestines.
"They have recurring episodes of nausea and vomiting. That vomiting can be from five to 15 to 50 times a day. Where they are constantly vomiting and end up in the emergency room," said Dr. Raul Rosenthal, a bariatric surgery specialist at Cleveland Clinic Florida.
Rosenthal said there is a certain population that is more prone to the disease.
"Unfortunately, our female population is at a higher risk. We don’t know why. But I would say 60 to 70 percent of those affected are females," said Rosenthal. "The second most affected population are type two diabetics."
The disease can be treated with medications, dietary and lifestyle measures or possibly surgery.
But for Cass none of the medications helped, so she opted for surgery and received a gastric pacemaker in March. Now the one thing she enjoys the most.
"Solid food, everything was in the blender. So, I am happy to be able to eat something," Cass said.
Resources on living with gastroparesis can be found here.