Those who undergo gastric bypass surgery are at risk of developing a rare brain condition called Wernicke encephalopathy, due to a thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency.
After gastric bypass surgery, vitamin absorption is decreased, so supplements are prescribed. However, some patients do not take the supplements as recommended, and their risk for Wernicke encephalopathy increases.
This syndrome can include vomiting, coordination problems, confusion and eye problems. The condition almost always has permanent effects, even when treated early on.
It is uncommon, but more importantly, it is preventable. The hundreds of thousands of Americans who undergo gastric bypass surgery must be diligent about taking vitamin B1 and any other supplements and prescription medications as it is prescribed to them.
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