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Diabetes

High blood sugar following surgery

06/30/2008

Question:

Last week I had popleteal anneurysm bypass surgery. Previously my glucose level was just over 100. Immediately prior to surgery and since, my level ranges from 96-158 (the 96 was just once). I am on a low carb diet and try to control my weight, however prior to surgery it was 225, today it was 229. What am I doing wrong and how can I correct the problem?

Answer:

Many factors contribute to the regulation of blood sugar and weight and several of them get temporarily "messed up" during the early period after an operation.  So neither of the changes you are noticing is unusual and both usually are temporary.  Surgery represents a form of physiologic stress that raises certain hormones which have the effect of raising blood sugar.  It would not be surprising to have reduced physical activity after an operation like the one you described.  That may reduce the contribution of physical activity to both blood sugar and weight regulation.  You may also have had intravenous fluids with the operation which you may not have completely gotten rid of which could be contributing to weight. 

You likely have gotten instructions (or should ask for them) about returning your physical activity level to normal and perhaps getting into an exercise program, and both of these problems should improve with that.

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Response by:

Robert M Cohen, MD Robert M Cohen, MD
Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati