The findings could also advance the search for better diabetes
treatments that target the small intestine and not the pancreas,
"It is increasingly clear that the intestine is not just a conduit for
food transit," gastric bypass surgeon Francesco Rubino, MD, tells WebMD.
"We now know that it is also a very important organ for the regulation of
Intestine Produces Glucose
Several recent studies have suggested that weight loss surgery is a more
effective treatment for type 2 diabetes in obese people than standard
treatments for the disease.
Because weight loss alone cannot explain the rapid remission of disease in
many gastric bypass patients, researchers have looked for other causes.
One theory has been that surgery alters the expression of hormones that help
control appetite, blood sugar, and weight.
But studies designed to test this hypothesis have proven contradictory,
diabetes researcher Gilles Mithieux tells WebMD.
In their newly published study, reported in the September issue of the
journal Cell Metabolism, Mithieux and colleagues looked elsewhere for
"We know from earlier work that the small intestine can produce
glucose," he says. "We showed that with gastric bypass surgery you
essentially double the capacity of the intestine to do this."
By studying mice treated with either gastric bypass or banding, researchers
confirmed that the bypass operation was associated with increased production of
glucose, or blood sugar, in the small intestine, while gastric banding was
Gastric bypass surgery essentially produces a "double intestine,"
Mithieux says. The portion of the small intestine that is closest to the
stomach is bypassed so that it no longer received nutrients. The lower small
intestine is then attached to the stomach where it becomes the main nutrient
By surgically repositioning the lower small intestine, which usually does
not produce much glucose, it ramps up intestinal glucose production and
improves insulin sensitivity, he says.
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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.
People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.
Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.
However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.
Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.
One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
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