New research has determined that weight-loss surgery can reverse and potentially cure diabetes.
Two research studies that were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, compared stomach-reducing operations to medicine alone for possible curative impact on type 2 diabetes caused by obesity.
The findings of both studies determined that surgery helped significantly more patients achieve normal blood-sugar levels than medicines alone did. Some with type 2 diabetes were able to stop taking insulin as soon as three days post weight-loss surgery. It was also determined that cholesterol and other heart risk factors were positively impacted by weight-loss surgery.
What is Diabetes?
According the American Diabetes Association, type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Millions of people in the United States have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Of additional concern, is the fact that many more are unaware they are at high risk for developing diabetes.
Some categories of people have a higher risk for acquiring the disease than other groups do. Type 2 diabetes is more commonly diagnosed in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and native Hawaiians, as well as the aged population.
The bodies of those with type 2 diabetes are unable to produce enough insulin, or their cells ignore the insulin which is vital for the body to be able to use glucose for energy. When one eats food, the body breaks down all of the sugars and starches into glucose. Glucose is the basic fuel for the body’s cells. Insulin takes the sugar from the blood into the cells, and, when glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can lead to complications of diabetes.
What is Weight Loss Surgery?
The article, “Weight Loss Surgery” explains that weight-loss surgery is also commonly referred to as bariatric surgery, bypass surgery, gastric banding and obesity surgery. It is sometimes considered an option for obese individuals who cannot lose weight through diet and exercise.
The surgery is usually only recommended for men who are at least 100 pounds overweight and for women who are at least 80 pounds overweight. However, those who are less significantly overweight, may be considered a candidate for obesity surgery if they also have diabetes, heart disease or sleep apnea.
When one has weight-loss surgery, the amount of food his body takes in is limited. Some types of weight-loss surgeries also inhibit the amount of food the body is able to digest.
How Does Weight Loss Surgery Reverse Diabetes?
Amy Colwell reports in her article, “Studies Confirm that Weight-Loss Surgery Can Reverse Diabetes”, that the surgery helped reverse type 2 diabetes in those patients who underwent the operation. The surgery was successful in reversing the disease because food intake causes the stomach and intestinal system to produce hormones that stimulate insulin, and, by surgically removing part of it, hormone production is significantly reduced. A second study showed that patients with mild diabetes who underwent stomach banding, which is a less drastic procedure, also experienced effective reduction of blood sugar.
In conclusion, researchers hope that weight-loss surgery promises new hope for a permanent treatment of type 2 diabetes. They would prefer to see weight-loss surgery offered as an effective option for treating obese people who suffer from diabetes, rather than as a desperate, last-ditch effort motivated by the desire just to lose weight.
- CBS “Weight-loss Surgery Can ‘Reverse’ Diabetes, Studies Confirm” (accessed 6/25/12) :
- Eating Disorders “Studies Confirm that Weight-Loss Surgery Can Reverse Diabetes” (accessed 6/25/12) : Amy Colwell,
- American Diabetes Association: “Diabetes Basics” (accessed 6/25/12)
- Medicine Plus: “Weight Loss Surgery” (accessed 6/25/12)