Diabetes Surgery

Bariatric Surgery: The Impact on Diabetes

Dramatic changes in type 2 diabetes

If you’ve been considering bariatric surgery for obesity, you probably already know about its many potential life-transforming benefits. If the surgery also improves your type 2 diabetes, just imagine the additional impact on your health and your life!

The evidence in support of bariatric surgery for Type-2 diabetes continues to mount. Various studies have shown:

  • 77% of patients with resolved diabetes. In these patients, diabetes completely disappeared or treatment (medicines, insulin) was no longer needed. In studies measuring for “resolution or improvement,” the number rose to 86% of patients.
  • Rapid results. For some patients, diabetes disappeared almost immediately, within days of surgery. Others saw blood sugar levels begin to fall soon after surgery, becoming completely normal within a year.
  • 92% reduction in deaths from diabetes-related causes.

Note that different types of bariatric procedures had different degrees of impact. Gastric bypass surgery resolved diabetes in 84% of patients, whereas gastric band procedures resolved it in 73%.

If you struggle with diabetes and are overweight, you are not alone. More than half of Americans are overweight and roughly 12 million Americans have severe obesity (defined as being 100 pounds or more overweight). Obesity is one of the most important factors for the development of type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that bariatric surgery (also known as gastric bypass, or weight-loss surgery) is not only an effective tool for treating obesity, but

Your Weight and Diabetes

Over twenty three million Americans (7.8 % of the population) have diabetes. Almost 5.7 million Americans are unaware they have the disease. There are two main types of diabetes. Both types are caused by problems in how a hormone called insulin (that helps regulate blood sugar) works. Type-1 diabetes most often appears in childhood or adolescence and causes high blood sugar when your body can't make enough insulin. Over 90% of all diabetes cases are what we call type 2 diabetes. Type 2-diabetes is usually diagnosed after age forty; however it is now being found in all ages including children and adolescents. Type-2 diabetes is linked to obesity and physical inactivity. In this form of diabetes your body makes insulin but can't use its insulin properly. At first, your body overproduces insulin to keep blood sugar normal, but over time this causes your body to lose its ability to produce enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels in the normal healthy range. The result is sugar rises in your blood to high levels. Over a long period of time, high blood sugar levels and diabetes can cause heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, leg and foot amputations, and pregnancy complications. Diabetes can be a deadly disease: over 200,000 people die each year of diabetes related complications.

How does my weight relate to Type-2 diabetes?

Carrying extra body weight and body fat go hand and hand with the development of type 2 diabetes. People who are overweight are at much greater risk of developing Type-2 diabetes than normal weight individuals. Being overweight puts added pressure on the body's ability to properly control blood sugar using insulin and therefore makes it much more likely for you to develop diabetes. Almost 90% of people with Type-2 diabetes are overweight. The number of diabetes cases among American adults jumped by a third during the 1990s, and more increases are expected. This rapid increase in diabetes is due to the growing prevalence of obesity and extra weight in the United States population.

What can you do to prevent diabetes?

The good news is Type-2 diabetes is largely preventable. Research studies have found that lifestyle changes and small amounts of weight loss in the range of 5-10% can prevent or delay the development of Type-2 diabetes among high-risk adults. Lifestyle interventions including diet and moderate-intensity physical activity (such as walking for 150 minutes per week) were used in these research studies to produce small amounts of weight loss. The development of diabetes was reduced 40% to 60% during these studies that lasted 3 to 6 years. Preventing weight gain, increasing activity levels and working toward small amounts of weight loss if you are overweight can have a big impact on the likelihood that you will develop diabetes in the future. Managing your weight is the best thing you can do to prevent the development of diabetes.

What can you do if you already have diabetes?

You can have a positive influence on your blood sugar and your overall health by choosing foods wisely, exercising regularly, reducing your stress level, and making modest lifestyle changes. Small amounts of weight loss (losing 10 pounds or more) can also have a big effect on how easily you can keep your blood sugar in the healthy range and can help prevent the complication of diabetes. Small amounts of weight reduction can decrease the amount of medication you need to keep your blood sugar in the healthy range. Overall better nutrition, physical activity, and control of blood glucose levels can delay the progression of diabetes and prevent complications.

American Diabetes Association: Standards of Medical
Care in Diabetes-2009
Bariatric surgery should be considered for adults with BMI >35 kg/m2 and type 2 diabetes, especially if the diabetes is difficult to control with lifestyle and pharmacologic therapy. Source: Diabetes Care, volume 32, Supplement 1, January 2009

Proven Procedures

The most common forms of bariatric surgery are Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, adjustable gastric banding and sleeve gastrectomy. Our experts will work with you to determine the procedure that is best for you.

Note that different types of bariatric procedures had different degrees of impact. Gastric bypass surgery resolved diabetes in 84% of patients, whereas gastric band procedures resolved it in 73%.

Diabetes Control and Your Quality of Life

A chance to live better, live longer

  • Reduce your risk of serious complications, including:
    • Blindness
    • Limb amputation
    • Kidney disease
    • Cardiovascular conditions:
      • Heart attack
      • Stroke
      • Congestive heart failure
      • High blood pressure
  • Cut the costs (and the hassles) of diabetes medications:
    • Reduced or eliminated need for diabetes medicines
    • No more need for insulin injections
  • Live better
    • Have more energy
    • Be healthier overall

More on Diabetes and Weight Loss Surgery

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General information on bariatric surgery