Weight Loss Surgery - WLS and Hypoglycemia

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12-01-2005, 08:14 PM
I have, for as long as I can remember (even when I was a thin young thing) suffered from hypoglycemia. Meals with too much sugar or failure to eat frequently enough can cause my blood sugar to drop low enough that I can become disoriented, break out in a cold sweat and get shaky.

It occurred to me today that eating smaller meals due to a restricted stomach size could have an impact on blood sugar levels. So I started poking around on the Internet to see what information I could find to formulate good questions for whatever doctor I decide on.

I found on article on the Harvard website about severe hypoglycemia as a complication of gastric bypass surgery. I also found on mybariatricsurgery.com's list of links a link to a website about hypoglycemia with the following description:

"So many of us suffer from hypoglycemia after our surgery. Check out this site and maybe it will help you understand more about this condition."

So I was wondering has anyone suffered from hypoglycemia before their surgery? If so what, if anything, have you noticed about your hypoglycemia after the surgery?

Also, has anyone done any research on this topic?

Obviously, I will ask whatever surgeon I choose about this, but I am looking for information that will help me figure out what to ask and how to ask it.


12-01-2005, 10:39 PM
hmmmmmm. i have no idea!!!! i'll look into it tomorrow. one of the things about the BYPASS is that people's diabetes clears up. not quite sure what that means for the hypoglycemics of the world.

BUT, since you're more interested in the lap band, you won't have the absorption problems that people with the bypass have. and that's a VERY important thing to remember. with the lapband, you may find that you have to manage your food a little differently [great question for your doc!], but whatever is written about the bypass doesn't usually apply to lapband.

12-02-2005, 12:13 PM
What she said!

I was also thinking that with the band, even if you weren't able to eat enough to control the blood sugar levels (since there are some days that you are more restricted than others), you could control it with liquids. Just a thought.

The Chickster

12-02-2005, 06:43 PM
Thanks! I had similar thoughts ... but it is always nice to hear them from someone else. Of course this still is on the list of questions to ask my doc (whoever he may be).

12-03-2005, 02:10 AM
Oh boy, do I have some personal experience with this one!! LOL
I was VERY hypoglycemic prior to surgery. I suffered from post-partum hyperinsulinemia. Good luck researching that one, lots of info, lol.
After I had surgery, I did have issues with my blood sugar dropping alot. But it takes time for your pancreas to readjust to your new anotomy. Your body will stop demanding so much insulin about 6 to 8 weeks post-op, as long as you are taking care of yourself. Protein, protein, protein. Always the primary key to helping control hypoglycemic events, aside from medications to bring insulin production down. Being heavy or thin obviously has nothing to do with your blood sugar, from what you've said. My best friend in elementary school was rail thin, active and healthy. When we were 12, she started having hypoglycemic episode so bad, she would pass out all the time. Diabetes ran in her family, so she assumed she was doomed. I got an update from her about a month ago. 2 kids, no gestational diabetes, and she takes meds to keep her insulin production down. Woohoo!!! But I'm getting away from your question here.......

Most people in your/our situation experience an increase in these events post op, but they do go down. It's something you would have to keep your eye for the rest of your life, but I have found it sooooooo much easier to manage at 10 months post-op. There is one thing you need to really research and ask your surgeon about,m since you already have had this for so long. There's a condition called neuroglycopenia that is very typical amongh adults who developed type I diabetes as children. What happens is, your body stops sending out (or becomes desensitized) the typical low blood sugar signals to your body. When you finally do feel it, your blood sugar is critally low (usually below 50) and you fade away mentally super fast. It is popping up among post-op RNY bypass patients with a history of diabetes and hypoglycemia. Currently, less than 2%. But I fell into that 2%. I was lucky. I was never alone when it happened, my husband was always able to help me out. It's an incredibly dangerous thing. Both times, my glucose were below 50. Once it was 32 and another it was 38. Most people are comatose at this point. When glucose levels drop below 20, irreversible brain damage occurs and the dying process begins. It's kind of like your brain trying to drive the last 40 miles on a tank of gas that only has 25 miles worth and you're going uphill. As long as you take care of yourself, this should not be a problem for you. On those days, I was being stupid and in a hurry and skipped my proteins too many times in a row. That's pretty much usually how it happens. I don't mean to scare you off, but I believe everyone has the right to know what they're getting into. If you need more info or have more questions, feel free to ask.


04-14-2006, 06:59 PM

I am nearly 2 years post op and I'm still having hypoglycemia problems. I live in England ,. I am from USA however..Ohio... Anyway..I was hypoglycemic prior to surgery and got the answer "lose weight you'll feel better" well when the heck is this gonna start !! my blood pressure is also dead low...and again "lose weight you'll feel better" now I am am snacking properly and doing all everyone is telling me.... and trying my best to not want to go shoot a doctor...PLEASE help..!!! is this going to get better?? I am fainting..I am having these sugars drop 45 minutes after I eat a meal..and it is driving me crazy..Thanks for any help you can offer.

04-14-2006, 09:11 PM
Hi Cynda,I am 1 year and 3 months out now. I am still having hyponeuroglycopenic events, and it's still scary. No one can give me a real answer to why my glucose is dropping so dangerously.
As to why yours is happening 45 minutes after consumption, that's even more strange. Have you spoken to your doctor/surgeon about it? RNY is still a young thing, although no longer in it's infancy. There is still so much for the medical community to learn. What we've done to our bodies (with the best intentions) alters our hormonal reactions and even some of our hormonal make-up shifts, and not for the better I'm finding.
Losing weight doesn't fix all the problems, either. Does low blood pressure run in your family? Are you possibly anemic? Ask for your doctor to check your insulin level. Not your blood sugar level, your insulin level.
Let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.


04-15-2006, 04:25 AM
I've tried to talk ..No body is listening

My surgeon says it isn't surgery related..My GP is like what do you want me to do...and I'm waiting to see a specilist on the 10th of May... I feel like I'm dying and no body cares..!!!... I know a bit mello dramatic but I'm getting irritated now.

I am adopted so history things are unknown

04-15-2006, 06:04 AM
Hmmmm. Doesn't sound melodramatic at all. This is your body, your life. Who are they to not listen and address your concerns? They work for you. There is a cause here, they just need to get off their butts and find it. Do you check your blood sugar, even when you are feeling well? Ok, maybe not the best question to ask, but....
And the unknown factora are always fun. Ever thought of seeing a genetic counselor?


04-16-2006, 05:12 AM
Counciler ain't gonna help..They say this isn't a food/mental issue..this is phycial..See I'm american living in England..only 1 hospital in the town we live in...and it just getting annoying.. I mean for the last year and a 1/2 everytime I go to the A&E/ER I take my book full of the information about Roux en Y. Major reason I am the person setting up patient support group in my own city.. If I cannot get someone to listen by the time I come home for a vacation in June, Then I am going to try to go see a specilist in USA. I'm just looking for information to take the the doctors here to go THIS is a real problem..... can't find any.

04-16-2006, 09:53 PM
Cynda59, if I may say the following. I suspect that at this point in your life you know what foods work best for you and at what frequency you have to eat to stay out of that black zone. My best suggestion at this point is, don't get hung on trying to find a doctor who 'gets it' at the expense of putting your time and energy into figuring out what works best for you and DOING that. It can be a trap when you feel like your needs and experiences are falling on deaf ears and you make it MORE important to find a doctor who gives you the recognition you need than to find solutions for your health. I'm not trying to be harsh here. At all. Or judging you. I'm suggesting you proceed as though you have only yourself at this moment to depend on and do your utmost to make caring for yourself your utmost priority. Dense proteins are critical but you need them in a carb friendly way. Can you cope with cheese? Hard cheeses are best btw. And what about beans? Beans can be a life saver where grains can really put you into an insulin crisis. I could probably make many suggestions from a dietary point of view but the main thing I wanted to say to you is, don't wait for a doctor to come up with a best way for you to deal with this. Take charge and make your health your number one job. Take care of YOU. You face huge challenges with this, but you can do it. I just hate to see you expend energy on finding solutions that may ultimately lie within your own knowledge and experience and in the food choices you are already capable of making for yourself.

Unless of course you're hoping for a pharmaceutical solution. In any case, that may or may not happen any time soon and you have to take care of your needs right now.

04-17-2006, 11:36 AM
funny you should mention grains, hubs. over the past couple of weeks, something has hit me over the head: when i get my carb grams from VEGGIES [carrots, parsnips, winter squash, legumes, whatever]. MY WEIGHT GOES DOWN AND STAYS DOWN.

BUT as soon as i add more than 1/2 serving of low GI grains, the weight goes up - and i feel it in my midsection!!!

hmmmmm. methinks i have to make this a permanent change.

04-17-2006, 04:37 PM
Yes, its taken me awhile to realize I can get away with legumes far more easily than with grains. Veggies are such a good choice. I still find carrots a little more difficult to deal with than sweet potatoe in some ways. Not sure why that is but for lentil soup I'll add a small amount of sweet potatoe before I would add carrots. And cabbage. Another great veggie for cooking with!

Lately, I'm finding pink grapefruit is a good choice for me too. That's the ONLY fruit I touch. I experimented with rhubarb but even adding Splenda it seemed to tip the glycemic scale for me in a bad way.

Which grains were you adding?

Oh, and have I mentioned how much I LOVE almond milk? That has been the single best new add on to my diet.

03-17-2007, 02:16 AM
Wow, such a long time since anyone has posted here..... Cynda, hope you're doing well. I am still experiencing neuroglycopenia. By the time I feel bad and check my blood sugar, it can be as low as 32. That has become relatively normal for me. My stress level influences it alot.

03-20-2007, 07:58 PM
I was hypoglycemic growing up and I get hypoglycemic "phases" now as an adult (or if I eat poorly). It runs in my family for generations. Anyway, not too long before I got banded I started gettng a phase again- but it was bad and no matter what I did or didn't do it seemed like my blood sugar was always dropping on me. Well I had been recently put on an ACE inhibitor and it seems that they can cause things like that along with that pesky cough I was trying to chase away. But now that I have had the surgery I am doing better since I get to have a lot of protein- its the majority of my caloric intake, and I get it frequently. Lactose is also the sugar that has always worked best for me and luckily I get to have a lot of that in the form of 1% milk. So I can sip on a protein shake now for an hour and the high amounts of protein in it and low sugars really help balance me out. And then just a few hours later I will have soup or something else... (I'm not on solids yet). Plus I get to start lowering my blood pressure med now that I am loosing weight!