How Can a Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery Help Diabetes?
Obesity-related health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease can cause life-threatening situations. Type 2 diabetes is caused by excess weight that exerts a lot of pressure on the pancreas, reducing its ability to produce insulin. This can lead to insulin resistance which is the major cause of type 2 diabetes. Bariatric surgery can help shed off the excess weight and reduce health complications associated with diabetes. This article discusses how bariatric weight loss surgery can help patients suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes and Its Relation to Obesity
Obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes as it causes insulin resistance and inflammation. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by progressive failure of pancreatic beta cells that affect the ability of the pancreas to produce insulin hormone. Patients who suffer from type 2 diabetes are advised to lose weight through prescription drugs and lifestyle modification to improve the secretion of insulin and reduce insulin resistance.
However, many patients find it difficult to lose excess weight through lifestyle modifications, which makes them, opt for surgery as the ultimate solution. If you have tried losing weight through diet and regular exercises, your doctor may recommend bariatric surgery to help improve comorbidities associated with obesity.
How Does Bariatric Surgery Help With Type 2 Diabetes?
Bariatric surgery helps to improve the symptoms of diabetes before a patient can start to lose weight. Doctors may recommend bariatric surgery for people with a body mass index that exceeds 40. However, the threshold can be lower for patients who suffer from type 2 diabetes. Diabetic patients need to consider bariatric surgery for weight loss if their body mass index is higher than 30.
Surgery improves type 2 diabetes by lowering blood sugar and improving health problems caused by diabetes. It also reduces the dosage as well as the type of medication required. Over time, it eliminates the need for diabetes medication since your blood sugar levels will be back to normal. Bariatric surgery helps to reduce the excess fat around the liver and pancreas to provide enough room for the secretion of insulin. However, the results of bariatric surgery can only be temporary if you do not keep up with your new lifestyle. This includes eating healthy, exercising regularly, and scheduling frequent visits with your doctor or surgeon to check your progress.
Weight Loss Surgery as a Treatment for Diabetes
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), losing a small percentage of excess body fat through bariatric surgery lowers the risk of developing diabetes. People who had been diagnosed with the disease earlier may also benefit from the surgery as it reduces their dependency on diabetes medications. Not only does weight loss surgery help you lose weight but also affects the hormones that control the body’s response to insulin and blood sugar. Bariatric surgery can help patients who cannot control their blood sugar levels with medication, diet, and exercise alone.
How Does Early Intervention Help?
The beta cells located in the pancreas help in the storage and secretion of insulin. These cells may eventually burn out and stop working as diabetes progresses over time. The results of weight loss surgery are much better if some beta cells are still working. Those who take insulin or more diabetes medications have lower remission rates in the long term. It is important to intervene early when patients are still healthier and do not require insulin to control their diabetes rate. Many patients who try to lose weight or lower their glucose and blood pressure levels only with lifestyle modifications can easily hit their targets in the long term.
Although bariatric surgery may have complications, the long-term risk of progressive diabetes for most patients outweighs the risk of having a surgical procedure. However, the individual risks for surgery should be evaluated based on the severity of the disease and the context of the duration as well as other comorbidities related to obesity.
Many patients can tolerate bariatric surgery very well. However, if you are not prepared to adapt to new lifestyle changes or advice given by health professionals, your weight loss results may be short-lived. Most doctors do not recommend surgical treatment in the first place after assessing your mental readiness for the procedure. If you are living with diabetes and you consider yourself eligible for bariatric surgery, it is important to talk to your doctor or surgeon about your available options. Most importantly, you need to be willing to commit yourself to new lifestyle changes to realize the full benefits of weight loss surgery.
If you’re suffering from Type 2 diabetes, bariatric surgery could make a difference in your health. Let the team at the Weight Loss and Wellness Center find a solution that helps you to address both your weight and your diabetes. Request a consultation with us here or call us today at (973) 888-1085.
Dr. Saniea F. Majid, MD, FACS, FASMBS, is our founder, director, and award-winning surgeon with more than 10 years of experience treating patients. She is the President of the New Jersey state chapter of ASMBS, a member of the Board of Directors at New Jersey Doctor-Patient Alliance, and Chair of the Post Operative Weight Recurrence Task Force (POWER). Dr. Majid has devoted her life to helping people like you lose weight and transform their lives and not only started and directed the Metabolic and Bariatric Center at Saint Michaels Medical Center but also achieved the National Center of Excellence. Dr. Majid is one of only three bariatric doctors and surgeons featured in the 2023 Healthy Living magazine published by NJ Top Docs. She is also a regular guest speaker for the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) where she trains bariatric surgeons on the latest methods and techniques.