For a variety of reasons both controllable and uncontrollable, Type 2 diabetes has become increasingly prevalent in the U.S. In combination with the Type 1 variety, the disease affects the lives and health of approximately 26 million Americans. About two-thirds of this population is either obese or overweight.
Most diabetics are able to control their symptoms through the use of glucose monitoring, insulin, medications and changes in lifestyle. But health researchers recently made an exciting announcement about diabetes treatment as a byproduct of bariatric surgery. It seems that gastric bypass surgery and other weight-loss surgeries are often a successful means of helping patients control their diabetes as well as lose weight.
Although obesity and diabetes do not always go hand in hand, being overweight or obese significantly increases a person’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Obesity is also a contributing factor to high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Bariatric surgery can help control Type 2 diabetes by promoting weight loss. But amazingly, some patients who needed to take insulin prior to the surgery have been able to stop using it within a few days after the procedure.
The relationship between weight-loss surgery and diabetes care was first noted several years ago. But researchers who saw health improvement in surgery patients after one year wanted to see if those benefits would remain three years or more after weight-loss surgery. Apparently, the three-year results are more promising than initial results suggested.
Bariatric surgery may not be right for everyone. It is also important to realize that patients must be willing to make major lifestyle changes in order for the weight loss to be effective long-term. But among Americans who are strong candidates for bariatric surgery and suffer from diabetes, the surgery could be a literal lifesaver.
Source: The Associated Press, “Surgery Gives Long-Term Help For Obese Diabetics,” Marilynn Marchione, March 31, 2014