Understanding Medical Problems

What You Need To Know About Osteoporosis After Your Gastric Bypass Procedure

Gastric bypass is a surgical procedure that resizes the stomach to help patients reach and maintain a healthy weight. However, there are a few things that you need to know about life after gastric bypass. Even though patients are usually able to achieve a lower, healthier weight, they may experience a decline in the health of their skeletal systems. Read on to learn a few things you need to know about osteoporosis after a gastric bypass procedure.

1. Every Type of Gastric Bypass Procedure is Associated with a Decline in Skeletal Health

There are multiple types of gastric bypass procedures, such as adjustable gastric banding, sleeve gastronomy, and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. Each procedure is associated with a future lower bone density. 

However, bone loss is usually more significant in patients who have had Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. This is a more dramatic procedure that involves creating a pouch in the stomach and re-positioning parts of the digestive system. Sleeve gastronomy and adjustable gastric banding are less intensive procedures that subsequently have lower rates of bone loss in patients. 

The reason every type of gastric bypass procedure is associated with bone loss is due to the fact that the procedure reduces the rate of absorption. This enables the body to absorb less calories (thus decreasing the patient's weight), but it also absorbs less nutrients. The decrease in nutrients is one of the factors that leads the patient to suffer from osteoporosis.

2. Elderly Patients (Especially Women) Are at a Higher Risk of Bone Loss After Gastric Bypass

Elderly patients are most likely to suffer from osteoporosis after their gastric bypass procedures. The incidence of osteoporosis is especially high in women who are postmenopausal. This is likely due to the fact that these women are already more likely to suffer from bone loss due to the decrease in estrogen associated with menopause. Estrogen is a hormone that encourages bones to properly repair themselves and maintain their density.

The rate at which bones repair themselves slows as patients age, making older individuals more prone to bone loss. Bones simply do not repair themselves at the rate that they break down.

3. Proper Diet Can Help Slow Down the Rate of Bone Loss

Since gastric bypass patients absorb less of the food they eat. it is essential for these individuals to make every bite count. Patients need to make sure they are eating a diet rich and varied in nutrients. They should also have their mineral and vitamin levels regularly monitored to determine what type of supplementation is necessary.

4. Weight Bearing Exercises Can Help Reverse the Effects of Osteoporosis

Weight bearing exercises, such as weight lifting and calisthenics, can help slow down the rate at which the body loses its bone mass. They can even help the body build new muscle mass. To get the most out of your exercise sessions, make sure to do them regularly. Ideally, you should complete two to three weight-bearing exercise sessions each week.

Talk to your doctor about osteoporosis treatments for more information.