Be Aware of Blood Sugar Post Gastric Bypass

Jan 04, 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.”

Explore further: Invasive procedures down with noninvasive prenatal testing

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

How gastric bypass rapidly reverses diabetes symptoms

Sep 02, 2008

A report in the September Cell Metabolism, a publication of Cell Press, offers new evidence to explain why those who undergo gastric bypass surgery often show greater control of their diabetes symptoms within days. It als ...

Study pinpoints role of insulin on glucagon levels

Apr 07, 2009

April 7, 2009 - Researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center have shown for the first time that insulin plays a key role in suppressing levels of glucagon, a hormone involved in carbohydrate metabolism and regulating blood glucose ...

Recommended for you

Supplement maker admits lying about ingredients

Dec 17, 2014

Federal prosecutors say the owner and president of a dietary supplement company has admitted his role in the sale of diluted and adulterated dietary ingredients and supplements sold by his company.

User comments : 0

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.