Vitamins Vital for Those in Recovery From Weight Loss Surgery

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It is essential that weight loss surgery patients maintain proper vitamin intake. Researcher and scientist Dr. Erlend Aasheim (OZ-ime) has released a report indicating that weight loss surgery patients who fail to get enough vitamin B1 can be at significant risk of contracting a nutritional condition known as Wernicke Encephalopathy (WUR-nik-ee en-SEPH-uh-LOF-uh-lee), or “WE” for short.

Dr Aasheim’s report appeared in the December issue of Annals of Surgery and is based upon a brand-new review of the medical literature associated with bariatric procedures.

WE is a type of brain damage caused by lesions in the inner parts of the brain. It is associated with a lack of thiamine, also known as vitamin B1 – a nutritional deficiency frequently found in patients recovering from weight loss surgery.

It can result in mental status changes, abnormal eye movement, problems with the brain’s ability to function, and other negative and sometimes permanent effects.  Other possible results include a distorted gait, acute confusion, impaired short-term memory, and – you got it – even death.

Weight loss surgery patients and their caregivers need to be aware of the predisposing factors and symptoms of  WE, but don’t attempt to diagnose this yourself – it’s too risky.

Tell your doctor immediately if you have been throwing up for a week or more or have had problems with walking or moving your eyes. An MRI scan of the brain can help diagnose the condition.

And, of course, if you’re post-op, be sure to keep your care team updated on your condition on a regular basis, stick to the dietary restrictions set out by your doctor, and make sure you’re taking all the necessary vitamin and mineral supplements prescribed to you as part of your ongoing treatment of obesity. Vitamins will be key in your recovery from weight loss surgery.

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