Is Weight Loss Surgery The Cure For Diabetes?


The American Diabetes Association estimates that if current health trends continue, as many as one in three American adults will develop type 2 diabetes by the year 2050. While regular exercise and a healthy diet play essential roles in preventing diabetes, another potential weapon in treating the disease is weight loss surgery.

The Basics:

Diabetes develops when the body can no longer use insulin correctly. Insulin is produced mainly by the pancreas and is essential for regulating blood glucose, commonly referred to as blood sugar, in the body. When glucose levels rise too high in the bloodstream, serious damage can occur, including skin infections, glaucoma, cataracts, nerve damage, high blood pressure and increased risks for stroke and kidney disease. The feet are especially at risk, with untreated diabetes sometimes leading to toe, foot or leg amputations.

Weight and Diabetes:

Obesity is one of the main causes of diabetes. Carrying excess weight and overeating places stress on the cells of the body, providing more nutrients than the cells can handle. The cells respond to protect themselves by dampening their insulin receptors. Over time this dampening causes the cells to become insulin resistant, reducing their ability to regulate blood glucose.

Weight Loss Surgery Benefits:

Weight loss surgery procedures, such as sleeve gastrectomy or the gastric bypass, often cure diabetes, sometimes even in the weeks just after surgery. Weight loss surgeries work by either bypassing a portion of the stomach or removing part of the stomach. These surgeries reduce the capacity of the stomach, helping control your food calorie intake. These surgeries also impact the fundus, a part of your stomach that releases a hormone named Ghrelin, which is responsible for making you feel hungry. Undergoing weight loss surgery also causes the body to release hormones like GLP-1, which help to return a healthy metabolism.

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Additional Benefits:

Along with reversing diabetes, changing your metabolism and helping change your body cosmetically, your new healthy weight after surgery provides several additional health benefits. For example, the weight loss and metabolic changes provided by weight loss surgery often treat high cholesterol problems, high blood pressure, polycystic ovarian disease and sleep apnea. The surgery may also reduce your risks for heart disease and certain forms of cancer, such as breast, endometrial and colon cancer.

While weight loss surgery certainly can help cure issues with type two diabetes, a change towards a healthier lifestyle will help ensure that issues with diabetes dont return. Work with your doctor to create a healthy diet and exercise routine to both maintain a healthy weight and prevent not only diabetes but other obesity-related illnesses.

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