Is Weight Loss Surgery a Cure for Diabetes?

Weight loss surgery can resolve Type 2 Diabetes, according to several studies. Learn about the positive impact that both the gastric bypass and Lap-Band® procedures can make on diabetes and other serious health conditions related to obesity.

weight loss surgery resolves diabetesWeight loss surgery has changed the lives and health of thousands of patients. Until recently, the fact that many of those patients no longer suffered from diabetes was only whispered in waiting rooms.

But a 2008 study led by Dr. John Dixon at the Monash University Medical School in Melbourne, Australia, showed patients who had Lap-Band surgery to reduce the size of their stomachs were five times more likely to see their diabetes disappear over the next two years than were patients who had standard diabetes care. Other studies have shown that gastric bypass surgery can also resolve diabetes in most patients.

The 2008 study was published in the Journal of American Medical Association and compared diabetes in patients who underwent Lap-Band surgery against those who received standard medical care for weight loss. This was the first randomized study on weight loss surgery and diabetes, and scientists consider randomized studies to yield the highest-quality evidence.

The Risks of Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes is sometimes called “death by inches,” because it erodes the quality of health and life slowly, often resulting in loss of eyesight, nerve damage in fingers and toes, and even amputation as circulation deteriorates from the disease.

The biggest common factor among Type 2 Diabetes patients is excess body weight: 55 percent of Type 2 Diabetes sufferers in the U.S. are obese. Hypertension, elevated cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, aging, a high-fat diet, and a less-active lifestyle also increase a person’s risk of getting diabetes. Of course, many of these symptoms are associated with obesity, also.

New Research on Weight Loss Surgery

The results of this study and previous research on the effect of weight loss surgery to treat diabetes are bringing recognition in the medical community to what many bariatric patients have realized for years: weight loss surgery is a possible cure for diabetes. In fact, more and more scientists are realizing that the weight loss that results from gastric bypass and gastric band surgery is really more of a side effect; the real benefit of weight loss surgery is that it appears to eliminate Type 2 Diabetes in the vast majority of cases.

In fact, more recent data is even more encouraging. Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University examined 177 morbidly obese patients with Type 2 Diabetes who underwent gastric bypass surgery. Nearly 90 percent of the patients experienced a return to normal blood sugar levels within the first year and almost 60 percent were still diabetes-free 5–16 years later. Those who were insulin dependent at the time of surgery were most likely to have their diabetes return.

And, researchers from New York University School of Medicine examined 95 patients who had laparoscopic gastric banding (more commonly known as Lap-Band surgery), with 88 percent taking oral diabetes medication and 15 percent on insulin. After five years, 83 percent had an improvement or remission of Type 2 Diabetes.

These dramatic results offer hope to the millions of people who suffer from Type 2 Diabetes. And although many medical experts caution that more research is necessary to determine the long-term health effects of bariatric surgery on patients with Type 2 Diabetes, current evidence leaves little doubt that weight loss surgery can have a positive impact on those who suffer from the disease.

Patients seeking weight loss surgery in Temple, TX, with Dr. Provost often suffer from diabetes and other co-morbidities. If you are concerned about how obesity is affecting your health, call to schedule a consultation with Dr. Provost at 254.724.2397.

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