Type 2 diabetes can be challenging to treat for people struggling with obesity. Patients who are able to lose weight by making lifestyle changes or taking weight-loss drugs, often gain the weight back, and antidiabetic drugs pose the risk for hypoglycemia. However, bariatric surgery has been proven to help control blood sugar and even cure type 2 diabetes altogether with continued healthy habits.
Does Weight Loss Surgery Treat Type 2 Diabetes?
Doctors have discovered that by controlling the level of sugar in the blood, weight loss surgery can treat type 2 diabetes. After surgery, blood-sugar is controlled by a combination of enforced caloric restriction, greater insulin sensitivity and increased insulin creation. For patients struggling with obesity, weight loss surgery can return blood sugar levels to normal, meaning less diabetes medication, or none at all.
Obesity is a potent risk factor for developing diabetes. In fact, people who are severely obese have 10 times the risk of developing it. When foods that are high in fats and carbohydrates are consumed it increases the fatty acids in the blood and lipid (fat) build-up in the liver and muscles. This increases insulin resistance and inflammation and over time causes the pancreas to stop making enough insulin.
With type 2 diabetes your body doesn’t make enough insulin, or your cells don’t respond normally to insulin. Without insulin, your body isn’t able to take sugar into its cells and use it for energy. This results in a build-up of extra sugar in your bloodstream, but weight loss surgery can help.
Who is a Candidate for Weight Loss Surgery?
To determine if you are eligible for weight loss surgery, your doctor will consider the following factors:
- If you are more than 100 pounds over your ideal body weight
- If you have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 40
- If you are experiencing severe negative health effects related to being overweight, such as high blood pressure or diabetes
- If you cannot maintain a healthy body weight through diet and exercise and even medically supervised dieting
- If you have a BMI of 35 or more and have type 2 diabetes, or other illnesses, and cannot achieve a normal fasting blood sugar
Types of Bariatric Procedures
There are several types of bariatric procedures. Most can be done in a minimally invasive way through laparoscopy, a type of surgery that involves small incisions and very tiny instruments. Types of bariatric surgery include:
- Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass. This procedure involves creating a small stomach pouch, which reduces the amount of food you can eat. The small intestine is connected directly to the pouch bypassing the lower stomach. This can change the way the gut and pancreas interact, affecting diabetes even before weight is lost.
- Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy (LSG). Also known as VSG (vertical sleeve gastrectomy), this procedure reduces the size of the stomach and limits food intake by surgically narrowing the stomach. This procedure is easier to perform than the gastric bypass and can be a good option for patients who are at higher risk if undergoing a long surgery.
- Duodenal Switch/SIPS. Duodenal Switch is a combination of a gastric sleeve and a large bypass procedure, and Stomach Intestinal Pylorus-Sparing is a modified and better-tolerated version. This procedure creates a smaller stomach that is connected to the farthest part of the small intestine bypassing most of the intestine. This surgery is effective for people with diabetes, but also riskier than the other procedures.
- Adjustable Gastric Band. Also known as a LAP-BAND, this nonpermanent band with a balloon attached to the inside is placed around the top of the stomach to create a small pouch, which causes the person to feel full after eating a smaller amount of food.
- Intragastric Balloon. This non-surgical procedure requires swallowing capsules containing balloons that are inflated, taking up space in the stomach and creating a feeling of fullness before overeating occurs.
Not all procedures have the same effect on weight and diabetes. Some surgeries limit the amount of food you can eat and drink. Some surgeries reduce the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Some bariatric surgeries do a combination of the two. You and your physician should consider each type of bariatric surgery based on your individual care.
How to Get Started at ALA
If you are considering weight loss surgery to treat type 2 diabetes, Advanced Laparoscopic Associates are with you every step of the way. To get started:
- Attend a free seminar or webinar hosted by our board-certified physicians and our certified bariatric nurse. These seminars are hosted regularly and include detailed discussions about the various surgical options available and to answer any questions you may have.
- At the end of the seminar, you will be able to make an appointment with one of our surgeons, who will schedule a private consultation with you in the office to discuss the surgery options that are best for you and your individual needs.
- After your surgery, you will be offered our comprehensive aftercare program, which offers the support and encouragement you need for long-term success.
ALA is devoted to your weight loss journey before and after your surgery. If you are considering bariatric surgery, get in touch today.