Diabetes and Weight Loss Surgery
For some patients, shedding extra pounds may also minimize diabetes symptoms. Within days of surgery, it’s not unusual for diabetic patients to naturally improve their insulin production and have less of reliance on metformin, insulin, and other common diabetes medications. The weight that’s lost within the first six-months or so after surgery may also improve insulin sensitivity and improve overall health.
Long-Term Reversal of Diabetes
The form of diabetes that’s associated with weight is type 2 diabetes, a condition that affects nearly 25 million Americans. Approximately 80 percent of individuals with type 2 diabetes who have weight loss surgery will go into remission. In one study involving 400 type 2 diabetics who had weight loss surgery, more than 60 percent had no signs of the disease six years after their procedure. Improvements were also seen with:
- Triglyceride levels
- Blood pressure
Improving Diabetes-Related Conditions
Diabetes is a contributing factor to many underlying health issues. The longer you live with diabetes, the greater your risk is for developing diabetes-related conditions. Some of these may include coronary artery disease, narrowing of arteries (atherosclerosis), heart disease, chronic high blood pressure (hypertension) and sleep apnea. Diabetic nerve damage (neuropathy) can’t be reversed, although losing a significant amount of weight may help manage symptoms as circulation increases.
Preparing for Weight Loss Surgery
Diabetics considering weight loss surgery will need to have a BMI of 35 or higher and have made other attempts at weight loss. If a patient is being treated for other diabetes-related conditions like heart disease, whether or not weight loss surgery is an option will also depend on how those conditions have affected overall health and well-being.
Quality of Life Improvements
Diabetics with weight issues often have difficulty maintaining their preferred quality of life. Because of the way diabetes affects circulation and the nervous system, it can be difficult to carry out daily activities or get sufficient rest. Weight loss surgery may lead to quality of life improvements for diabetics that include:
- More productive sleep habits
- Increased mobility
- An ability to socialize more and participate in favorite activities
There’s no guarantee diabetes will completely go away following weight loss surgery. However, losing excess weight does often ease symptoms and make it easier to reach a point where complete reversal is possible. The recommended dietary and lifestyle changes that go along with bariatric surgery often have an equally positive impact on overall health, which will likely eliminate many of the other factors that often contribute to diabetes.