Calcium Deficiency Symptoms After Weight Loss Surgery
The scientific consensus on obesity is clear. If diet and exercise have failed, it is critical that those with obesity consider bariatric surgery – the only proven effective method of losing weight quickly, and potentially fighting or eliminating obesity-related diseases.
Gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and other weight loss surgeries promote 65% excess weight loss on average and are credited with saving the lives of millions of men and women all over the world. Yet any time you make such a drastic change to your body, some long-term needs are to be expected, and one such need is calcium supplementation in order to combat calcium deficiency.
How Does Bariatric Surgery Cause Calcium Deficiency?All weight loss surgeries lead to a reduced nutritional intake. After bariatric surgery, patients are unable to eat as much food, which can result in a decrease in the number of important minerals and vitamins that your body needs to operate. There is also often a significant drop in calcium-rich foods, such as milk, which often needs to be avoided after bariatric surgery because of gastric distress and calories.
But after specific types of weight loss surgery – most notably gastric bypass and duodenal switch – other nutritional deficiencies because of changes that the surgery makes to the body. Any surgery that either re-routes or removes a part of the small intestine can lead to less time processing nutrients, and that is especially true of calcium.
Calcium is absorbed through the proximal small intestine. When any portion of the intestine is removed, or food is diverted from the intestine, the body has less time to process the calcium and a deficiency can occur. Given how important calcium is for:
- Bone Strength
- Nerve Signals
- Blood Flow and More
Any drop in calcium below the recommended levels can cause many different problems with your long-term health. Although bariatric surgery is a lifesaving procedure, the drop in calcium does mean that supplementation is recommended.
What Are the Signs of Calcium Deficiency?There are many signs and symptoms of calcium deficiency. Calcium is best known for its effects on bones, and it is true that a lack of calcium can affect your bone density, and make you more prone to breaks, pain, and damage. But there are other very common signs of calcium deficiency that you need to watch for if you choose not to take post-bariatric calcium supplements, including:
- Hair Loss
- Tooth Pain and Decay
- Muscle Twitching
- Abnormal Heart Rhythms
- Tingling in the Fingers
These symptoms often come gradually, and when they do it is a sign that your deficiency has gone on for an extended period of time without treatment. Calcium has a profound effect on health. At first, calcium is “borrowed” from your bones, which increases your risk of bone-related health issues. But if the calcium deficiency isn’t addressed, it will be quickly seen in the way your body feels.