How Does Bariatric Surgery Reverse Diabetes?

July 20, 2021


The health and wellness benefits of bariatric surgery and the ensuing weight loss are well-known and well-documented. What’s perhaps less well-known, although equally well-documented, is how bariatric surgery reverses diabetes.

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects how well our bodies use insulin. When the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin or our bodies become less efficient at using it, blood sugar builds up in our bloodstream.

This can lead to heart and kidney disease and even a loss of vision, along with a host of other health problems. The World Health Organization reports that about 422 million people worldwide have diabetes. The numbers are increasing everywhere.

Types of Diabetes

There are three types of diabetes:

  • Type 1, With type 1 diabetes, our bodies stop making insulin. People with this type (about 5 percent to 10 percent of the diabetic population) must take insulin every day. The most important thing to remember about type 1 diabetes is that there is no cure and nobody knows how to prevent it.
  • Type 2, which is what most diabetics (90 percent to 95 percent of people with diabetes) have. It develops over a lifetime and, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains, “can be prevented or delayed with healthy lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, eating healthy food, and being active.” Bariatric surgery can definitely help with type 2 diabetes prevention and maintenance.
  • Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women who were previously nondiabetic. This type of diabetes presents risks to the baby. It usually goes away after birth, but that does mean the mother is more at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Children born to mothers with gestational diabetes are also “more likely to have obesity as a child or teen, and more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.” Weight-loss surgery before pregnancy can help, but it’s best to consult with your doctor for a plan of action specifically tailored to your needs.

Thus we see that bariatric surgery can be effective in preventing type 2 diabetes and helping people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar levels. This leads to improvements across a wide range of health indicators, including lowering blood pressure along with continued loss of body weight.

And while there is no cure for diabetes, losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight are extremely beneficial for patients with diabetes.

Healthy Habits

Patients will certainly lose weight after bariatric surgery, but it’s the development of healthy eating and exercise habits that will do the most good in the long term. Some patients will still need additional help, such as that afforded by diabetes medication.

A study published by the Cleveland Clinic shows that gastric bypass surgery, for example, “has become a popular option for obese people who want to shed pounds quickly, but diabetics also have something to gain from the procedure: the surgery can resolve type 2 diabetes.”

“Bariatric surgery,” the studies authors continue, “formerly used only for treating obesity, is now being explored as a cure for type 2 diabetes not only in obese patients but also in normal weight or moderately overweight people.”

Bariatric surgery has been shown to reverse type 2 diabetes by improving levels of blood sugar. Continued good health through regular exercise and healthy eating levels also contributes to outcomes.

Finally, the study shows that “bariatric surgery plays (an) important role in (the) prevention of diabetes: weight loss following gastric bypass in obese non-diabetic patients decreases their likelihood of developing diabetes by 60 percent.”

WeightWise

Get in touch with WeightWise today to discuss your weight-loss options. Our medical center team is skilled and experienced at metabolic and bariatric surgery.

If you have any questions about adjustable gastric banding, gastric, or what’s called Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure (creating a pouch from the stomach and connecting it to the small intestine), let us know.

Our patients report a continuing level of high satisfaction and health outcomes following our bariatric surgeries, so don’t delay. Contact us today!



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