Be Aware of Blood Sugar Post Gastric Bypass

January 4, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- People with type 2 diabetes who have gastric bypass surgery often leave the hospital without the need for previously prescribed diabetes medications.

Researchers and doctors believe this health benefit is related to changes in the body’s circulating hormones—particularly an increase of insulin secretion. Insulin is the hormone that controls the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood.

Marzieh Salehi, MD, a diabetologist with UC Health University of Cincinnati Physicians whose research is focused on the effect of weight-loss surgery on , cautions that although there can be huge benefits for diabetic patients who undergo gastric bypass surgery, a group of patients experience severely low levels of blood sugar ()—especially following a meal and typically several years after surgery. Symptoms of hypoglycemia often aren’t recognized until they become debilitating or life-threatening.

Salehi says that many patients with who qualify for gastric bypass surgery rely on anti-diabetic medications like insulin injections to regulate glucose in the body. These same patients often leave the hospital following surgery with normal glucose control without taking any medications.

“It’s possible,” says Salehi, “that gastric bypass increases gut hormone secretion or nervous system activity, which in turn increases insulin secretion and improves glucose metabolism in a majority of patients after surgery.

“However,” she adds, “there is a population of gastric bypass patients who, following surgery, develop high levels of endogenous insulin secretion, resulting in dangerously low glucose levels, or hypoglycemia. These glucose abnormalities due to too much represent an extreme effect of gastric bypass surgery.”

Salehi, who sees weight-loss surgery patients with glucose abnormalities at the UC Health Diabetes Center, says symptoms of hypoglycemia include shakiness, sweating, dizziness, light-headedness, weakness, confusion and difficulty speaking. More severe symptoms include seizure and cognitive abnormalities. Hypoglycemia can be life-threatening without proper monitoring or treatment.

“If hypoglycemia goes unnoticed, the body can become accustomed to low sugar and patients can then lose their awareness to low sugar. It is essential to seek help if any of these symptoms develop after gastric bypass surgery.”

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Pickled in 'cognac', Chopin's heart gives up its secrets

November 26, 2017
The heart of Frederic Chopin, among the world's most cherished musical virtuosos, may finally have given up the cause of his untimely death.

Sugar industry withheld evidence of sucrose's health effects nearly 50 years ago

November 21, 2017
A U.S. sugar industry trade group appears to have pulled the plug on a study that was producing animal evidence linking sucrose to disease nearly 50 years ago, researchers argue in a paper publishing on November 21 in the ...

Female researchers pay more attention to sex and gender in medicine

November 7, 2017
When women participate in a medical research paper, that research is more likely to take into account the differences between the way men and women react to diseases and treatments, according to a new study by Stanford researchers.

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.