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Can Weight Loss Surgery Reduce or Eliminate the Impact of Diabetes?

Posted on July 4, 2014 at 11:55 PM by Todd Eibes, MD

Weight Loss Surgery SupportStudies have shown that weight loss surgery can significantly improve the health of people with type 2 diabetes.

After the surgery, blood sugar levels can return to the normal range meaning the need for fewer or no diabetes medications.

Moreover, as diabetes can lead to many other serious health problems, the case for weight loss surgery becomes even stronger.

It has been estimated that as much as 8.3 percent of the world’s population has diabetes, with this number increasing annually. As weight goes up, so does the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In fact, almost 25 percent of individuals who are affected by severe obesity will carry a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

Uncontrolled diabetes leads to a number of long-term problems including heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, blindness, and the need for amputations.

Some additional statistics regarding diabetes:

  • Someone in the world dies from complications associated with diabetes every 10 seconds.
  • Diabetes is one of the top ten leading causes of U.S. deaths.
  • Approximately 90 percent of type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, is attributable to obesity.
  • If present trends persist, by the year 2050 approximately 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. will have diabetes.
  • Diabetes occurs in approximately 8.9 percent of the U.S. population but in more than 25 percent among individuals with morbid obesity.
  • Premature death from type 2 diabetes is increased by as much as 80 percent and life expectancy is reduced by 12 to 14 years

A chronic and progressive disease, type 2 diabetes accounts for approximately 95 percent of all diabetes cases. Current therapy for type 2 diabetes includes a drastic change in lifestyle, including weight loss, diet and exercise, as well as medication.

Weight loss surgery has been proven to be the most effective treatment for type 2 diabetes among individuals who are affected by obesity and may result in remission or improvement in nearly all cases. The surgery has been found to:

  • lower blood sugar and percent glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) to normal or near normal levels
  • reduce or eliminate the dosage and type of medication required
  • improve diabetes-related health problems

With the advancements in weight loss surgery, not only could many of the individuals who die each year from diabetes complications be saved, but their quality of life improved as well. While weight loss surgery certainly has some risk, the long-term effect of continued diabetes typically has more serious and longer lasting implications.

While the effect of many types of weight loss surgeries can have an impact on type 2 diabetes, sleeve gastrectomy in particular appears to have some independent effects on glucose metabolism and also causes some changes in hormones that have shown improvement in diabetes symptoms. Diabetes remission rates after sleeve gastrectomy are very high (more than 60%).

It’s important that each person’s individual health history, risks for surgery, and the severity of their diabetes as well as their other obesity-related health problems be evaluated when considering weight loss surgery. While surgery may not be right for everyone, obese individuals suffering from type 2 diabetes should seriously consider its benefits.

If you’re interested in learning more about:

  • Dr. Todd Eibes
  • Iowa Weight Loss Specialists
  • Our West Des Moines location
  • Our weekly informational class
  • Weight loss surgery financing
  • Or would like to schedule a consultation

Please call 515-327-2000 or email us.

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