The Benefits of Bariatric Surgery for Patients with Type 2 Diabetes

The Benefits of Bariatric Surgery for Patients with Type 2 Diabetes

By: Susan Epstein

Diabetes, particularly obesity-related Type 2 diabetes, is increasing across the United States and is becoming an epidemic. If you suffer from diabetes, your body’s ability to use the hormone Insulin will be impaired. Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate sugar in the body. When your body breaks down the food you eat into sugar (for energy), it releases insulin to help bring the sugar into your body’s cells.

Types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

There are 2 types of Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes will present if your Pancreas does not produce Insulin. On the other hand, Type 2 Diabetes occurs if your body does not produce enough Insulin or when your cells are not able to use Insulin properly. This article will focus on Type 2 Diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes

Symptoms often develop slowly with Type 2 Diabetes and can for this reason go unnoticed. They may include:

  • Increased thirst and urination,
  • Increased hunger,
  • Weight loss,
  • Fatigue,
  • Blurred vision.

In addition, an A1C greater or equal to 6.5%, fasting blood glucose of 126 mg/dl or higher, (on two separate tests), are also indicators.

What about Prediabetes?

Prediabetes, as the name indicates, is a precursor to Type 2 Diabetes. It is a condition whereby the blood sugar levels are elevated. If you have prediabetes, you are at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Moreover, with prediabetes,  you will not show clear symptoms and would have to be diagnosed through blood tests. An A1C of 5.7%-6.4%; fasting blood glucose of 100-125 mg/dl are indicators.

Both Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes are linked to Obesity. If you are obese, your body will experience added pressure in its ability to control blood sugar levels. Consequently, you are more likely to develop this form of diabetes. In light of this, you will experience many health problems including:

  • Heart disease,
  • Stroke,
  • Blindness,
  • Kidney failure,
  • Neuropathy, and
  • Amputations.

The role of bariatric surgery in treating prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes

Though you can use medication as one type of therapy, equally important are lifestyle adjustments such as dietary changes and exercise. Similarly, medical practitioners now recommend bariatric surgery as one of the most effective treatments. As a matter of fact, according to the ASMBS (American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery), Bariatric Surgery improves type 2 Diabetes in nearly 90% of patients. In the same way, after surgery, you will experience benefits such as:

  • Reduced blood sugars,
  • Reduced dependency on medications, and
  • Improvement in diabetes-related health issues.

Statistics show that 78% of diabetics patients who receive weight loss surgery go into remission. By receiving surgery, not only will you experience lower blood sugar levels, but also, you will eliminate the need for medications. Surgery of course isn’t magic. It is a tool that will help you achieve weight loss through lifestyle changes. You will experience best long-term results if you are committed to your diet as well as adhering to your exercise program. Therefore, by doing the following, you will notice significant improvements in blood glucose control:

  • Follow a very low carbohydrate diet,
  • Focus on lean proteins, vegetables, fruit, vitamin supplements,
  • Hydrate, and
  • Make regular exercise a habit.
Susan Epstein
Susan has been working as a Bariatric Dietitian since 2007. She is also the facilitator for the bi-monthly Bariatric Support Groups at Good Samaritan Hospital. Prior to Bariatrics, Susan worked in a private practice for 7 years, counseling patients in various areas including Diabetes and Weight Management. She has more than 20 years of experience in the field of nutrition. Susan worked in community programs including the Pascack Valley Wellness Center and was the High Risk Nutritionist at the Rockland County W.I.C. Program. She also has experience as a Clinical Dietitian, having worked at White Plains Hospital and United Hospitals Medical Center in New Jersey.