Obesity is an increasing problem in many parts of the world. Often, exercise and healthy eating are not enough to improve your health. For this reason, many patients are turning to gastric bypass surgery to help them lose their extra pounds. However, this procedure has been known to result in hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Dr. Fernando Garcia and his team of professionals at Tijuana Bariatrics in Tijuana, MX, would like their patients to know the facts about how to maintain normal blood sugar after gastric bypass.
How Does Gastric Bypass Surgery Affect Blood Sugar?
Gastric bypass is a type of bariatric surgery that has proven safe and highly effective in helping patients lose a significant amount of weight. The doctors at Tijuana Bariatrics perform this low-cost procedure regularly with excellent results. Their patients lose an average of 10 to 20 pounds every month for a year following the surgery. This dramatic weight loss is invariably accompanied by better overall health and improved confidence.
As is the case with any surgical procedure, however, gastric bypass patients can experience certain complications. One of these is postprandial hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar occurring after a meal. This condition, which has been termed reactive hypoglycemia, is usually not noticed until a year or more following surgery. It occurs because patients produce too much insulin in response to the meal. They may also have become more sensitive to the blood sugar-lowering effects of their own insulin.
Patients can usually recognize the onset of hypoglycemia by its symptoms, which generally occur from one to three hours following a meal. These include confusion, anxiety, cold sweats, dizziness, hunger, and shakiness. In extreme cases, they can even progress to unconsciousness.
Preventing Low Blood Sugar
Fortunately, most gastric bypass patients never experience reactive hypoglycemia, but those who do should understand how to manage it. The goal is to maintain a constant blood sugar level throughout the day. Tips include:
- Eat three to four balanced meals daily, spacing them apart equally. Keep carbohydrates to a minimum, especially those with a high glycemic index.
- Limit the intake of sweets, since they ultimately lower blood sugar by stimulating insulin secretion.
- Drink alcohol in moderation, as it can also result in lower blood sugar levels.
- Pay attention to symptoms and act before they become severe, especially while driving or engaging in any other potentially dangerous activities.
How to Stop Symptoms from Progressing
Knowing how to treat your symptoms once they appear is also important. As with prevention, these steps should focus on returning the blood sugar back to normal. It is important to eat something, either a meal or a light snack, as soon as symptoms become apparent. If the symptoms are severe–including light-headedness or profuse perspiration, for example–drink a sweet juice or eat something very sweet, preferably containing glucose. Patients should understand that these sweets, though necessary now, will cause a rebound effect later. Therefore, they are advised to monitor themselves closely for the next few hours and be sure to eat again shortly.
Reach Out to Tijuana Bariatrics for More Information
Patients who have experienced episodes of low blood sugar following gastric bypass surgery are encouraged to give Dr. Garcia and his team a call. The team is also eager to speak with individuals who are carrying pounds that they just can't seem to lose with diet and exercise. Tijuana Bariatrics helps patients to stay healthy and restore their figure and self-confidence. Contact the practice online to learn more about your options.