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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

I feel dizzy, Oh so dizzy!

Man do I feel dizzy alot! Frequently I feel light headed and woozie. I blame it on the gastric bypass - but guess what? Research indicates it is a state of chemical imbalance not unique to the bariatric community. All human bodies suffer from occasional to frequent chemical imbalance.

It can occur when too much time passes between meals, or as an early warning sign of dehydration. Lack of food or loss of bodily fluid interrupts the body’s physiological process; the electrolytes get out of balance. Frequently I feel lightheaded or dizzy, not a severe experience like dumping, but certainly an uncomfortable feeling. On many occasions I’ve gotten busy in the gardens and forgotten to sip my water. Before I know it, I’m light headed and weak in the knees. Some cool water and a quiet break under the shade tree quickly refreshes me.

Potassium, sodium and chlorine are the three dominant electrolytes in the human body. Beneath our conscious awareness the electrolytes are very busy jumping in and out of cells making it possible for nerve impulses to travel from one nerve cell to the next. When we are eating correctly, staying hydrated and pursuing a healthy lifestyle it is likely the electrolytes will stay balanced and we can enjoy a dizzy-free existence.

It is extremely dangerous when electrolytes become severely imbalanced. Infants suffering from dehydration have died from electrolyte imbalance. So have sufferers of anorexia.

When a bariatric patient feels dizzy it could very well be related to the restricted diet. Most commonly going too long between meals or not drinking enough water causes bariatric patients to become dizzy or have a mild electrolyte imbalance. I have found The Dizzies will go away quickly if I hydrate with water or little sips of a sports drink like Gatorade.

If flu symptoms cause dehydration to the point of extreme dizziness and disorientation one must see a doctor immediately. Dehydration will force a greater loss of potassium, which raises the sodium level in all muscle tissues. At greatest risk is the heart muscle where an increase of sodium may cause arrhythmia and death.

The sports and nutrition industry’s guideline for water consumption is one ounce of water for every two pounds of body weight. Keep that in mind and keep track of your water intake throughout the day, it will help you avoid The Dizzies.

Interestingly, most of us regularly experienced The Dizzies prior to our weight loss surgery, and probably didn’t even notice. Yet after surgery we are so in tune with our bodies we notice everything, and it is easy to blame the bypassed systems for every abnormal condition. Electrolyte imbalance happens in all human bodies and is not unique to the bariatric patient.

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