New evidence supports correlation between gastric bypass and higher breath test readings

The results of a sobriety test, such as the Breathalyzer or blood test, frequently play a crucial role in the outcome of a drunk driving case. When assessing how reliable the sobriety test results may have been, it is important to consider the medical background of the client and any conditions that may have impacted their results.

Scientific evidence shows that weight loss surgeries, such as the gastric bypass, can cause a a significant increase in blood alcohol content for someone stopped and arrested for DUI for a variety of reasons. 

The health risks and associated conditions of obesity are well documented in the media- from diabetes to cancer, overweight individuals often turn to high intensity exercise programs and extreme dieting in their attempts to lose weight. Although this works for some, many people may see no improvement with their new lifestyle practices and still struggle to lose weight. Such people may turn to weight-loss surgery. Weight-loss surgery is relatively common, the most notable being the gastric bypass. This surgery aims to shrink the stomach in an attempt to aide the patient in loosing weight. Although this surgery carries the risks associated with any surgery, it is relatively safe and has helped many people lose vast amounts of weight. However, few people may know of one risk relating to this surgery that is potentially dangerous – alcoholism. 

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Alcoholism may be impacted by people who have had gastric bypasses. Those who have had this type of weight loss surgery have been found to have higher rates of alcoholism. This may impact people’s breath tests, as well, as these individuals may process alcohol differently than others. This could produce a higher than true breath test result. The bacteria in a previously overweight person’s stomach may digest alcohol quite differently than a person of relatively normal weight.

There have been several reports of an increase in alcoholism among patients who have received gastric bypasses, adding around 2,000 alcoholics to the United States population each year. Although no one can pinpoint exactly what the cause of this is, there are a few theories. You can read the full article on this topic on Science Line.

However, it is still important to remember the connection that this may have with a person’s Breathalyzer. According to another article posted by the American College of Surgeons, gastric bypasses may also affect the breath test. According to scientists and researchers, it has been found that those who have undergone gastric bypass surgery take a longer time to metabolize alcohol. This could affect the breath test for several reasons.

First and foremost, those who have had gastric bypass surgery take longer to metabolize alcohol, meaning that they may have to consume more alcohol in a shorter amount of time in order to feel the affects. This phenomenon may cause them to have a high BAC, when they may not be as intoxicated as the breathalyzer indicates. Additionally, it may take longer for these individuals to return to a sober state after a period of drinking. Clearly, those who have undergone a gastric bypass surgery take a longer time to metabolize alcohol than someone who has not undergone this surgery, meaning that their blood alcohol content will remain at a high reading for much longer than the average person.

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With the link to alcoholism among gastric bypass patients, along with a higher than usual BAC reading, it is clear that these people need to be extra cautious when drinking. However, police and lawyers should also be told of this newly discovered issue. There could possibly be arguments made for gastric bypass patients charged with DUIs that may not be applicable to another person. This information is certainly worth looking further into.

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You can also learn about current issues impacting Breath Testing in Massachusetts on my website.

 

 

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