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Weight Loss Surgery & Type 2 Diabetes - Understanding The Relation!

Written and reviewed by
Dr. B N Shukla 86% (34 ratings)
Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery, Fellowship in Bariatric Surgery, M.S.
Bariatrician, Lucknow  •  11 years experience
Weight Loss Surgery & Type 2 Diabetes - Understanding The Relation!

Is there a relation between weight loss surgery and type 2 diabetes? Yes, there is and a very promising one. You as a diabetic may not know this but weight loss surgery also called bariatric surgery can help you reverse type -2 diabetes.

It’s scientifically proven that weight loss surgery can normalize your blood sugar levels and cure diabetes. This means that you may not need any medicines or less medication than before post such a surgery. One long-term study which tracked 400 people with type 2 diabetes showed that six years after bariatric surgery, 62% diabetics showed no signs of diabetes like elevated sugar levels. Apart from this, they also showed better blood pressure, cholesterol and blood triglyceride levels that can cause heart disease.

As a control, the study tracked type 2 diabetics who only took medicines, and only 6% to 8% of them showed similar results after six years. Should you get weight loss surgery done? You are a fit candidate for bariatric surgery if your

  1. BMI is 35 or higher
  2. And if have been trying to lose weight for a long time but haven’t been successful.

Your doctor will give you a physical exam to check whether you are fit for a major surgery and if you are emotionally ready to commit to eating healthy and make exercise a part of your life post-surgery.

Types of weight loss surgery
The most popular type of weight loss surgery is one in which the size of your stomach is shrunk so that you feel full even after small meals. Other types of bariatric surgeries change the way your body absorbs calories and nutrients and vitamins. A few other types of bariatric surgeries do both.

  1. Gastric Bypass: In this surgery, your surgeon makes a small stomach pouch by dividing the top of the stomach from the rest. So, when you eat, food goes into this small pouch, which makes you feel full faster and also makes it possible for your body to absorb fewer calories. This is a very promising type of bariatric surgery for diabetics as up to 80% of people show no signs of diabetes after it. And they also lose 60% to 80% of their extra weight on an average. The negative is that your body absorbs lesser vitamins and minerals post surgery.
  2. Gastric Sleeve: In this surgery, your surgeon will remove a major part of your stomach. When your stomach is small, you will feel full faster. It also reduces hunger pangs. This type of surgery is also very effective in reducing diabetes and losing weight. The con is that this surgery is irreversible and also limits your ability to absorb vitamins and minerals.
  3. Adjustable Gastric Band: In this surgery, your surgeon puts an inflatable band around the top of your stomach. This forms a small pouch which makes you feel full faster. The good point is that your stomach is not cut and your intestines are not shifted. There are thus lesser complications. It also helps in controlling diabetes. The con is that you lose less weight in this type of surgery.
  4. Biliopancreatic DiversionThis is an uncommon surgery but most effective for diabetics. In this the doctor removes a large part of your stomach and also changes the way the food goes to your intestines. This helps in losing weight but it can lead to a number of complications and you will also need more time to recuperate. It also affects digestion long term.

As with any major operation, all bariatric surgeries come with potential risks like bleeding, infection, and leaks in the digestive system. And the weight also creeps back if you don’t follow a stringent diet and exercise programme post- surgery.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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