Monday, January 5, 2009
Steve Jobs Weight Loss
When fifty-three year old Steve Jobs lost a large amount of weight and did not show up for the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco, shares of Apple stock plummeted. Since he was treated for pancreatic cancer four years ago, his weight loss has made investors nervous that the creative head of Apple was facing another serious medical crisis.
Now Mr. Jobs has released a public letter that states he is suffering from a hormonal imbalance that caused the weight loss and it can be treated with simple medication. He assured the stockholders that he is well and will continue to lead the company.
Steve Jobs was treated with the Whipple procedure, a complex surgery that removes the head of the pancreas, the gall bladder, the bottom part of the stomach (antrectomy) and part of the duodenum. This part of the pancreas secretes insulin, which regulates blood sugar, as well as a number of enzymes that help with digestion.
Weight loss after Whipple is common and extreme weight loss can occur if the patient gets "malabsorption" syndrome, when there is enzyme deficiency and foods pass through the GI tract unabsorbed as diarrhea.
If diabetes occurs, this can contribute to even more weight loss.
Malabsorbtion is treated with large doses of pancreatic enzymes (Creon, Panokase, Viokase) that need to be carefully titrated with meals.
There could be other hormonal problems that are contributing to his weight loss. Hyperthyroidism can cause weight loss, as well as "Addisons disease", which is when the adrenal gland fails to secrete cortisol. Given his history, however, I would think he has extreme malabsorption and his gaunt features would go along with this diagnosis.
Steve Jobs medical condition should be treated with privacy but since the fate of the company seems to depend upon his good health there is much speculation about what is going on. Another celeb that has battled pancreatic cancer is Patrick Swaze, and he too has lost a great deal of weight.
Each year over 33,000 Americans are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Disclaimer: I am an Apple fan and I love my iPod so much, I would buy it clothing if I could. I have spent a small fortune on itunes.
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 9:13 PM