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Can Bariatric Surgery Cure Your Type 2 Diabetes?

October 16, 2019 | Bariatric Surgery

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If you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you’ve probably been told it’s a progressive disease. Without a major shift in your lifestyle, you can expect it to get worse, with higher A1C levels and more medications in your future. There are steps you can take, though, to manage your diabetes, reduce your AIC, and live a healthier life. Weight loss is high on the list, so many people wonder: can bariatric surgery cure type 2 diabetes?

First, it’s important to understand that there is no cure for type 2 diabetes. Even if the symptoms seem to have reversed, your numbers are good, and your doctor says you can stop taking your medication, medical professionals call this remission, rather than a cure. That’s because diabetes symptoms can come back, and even if you’re in remission, some serious complications can occur, so it’s important to continue being monitored for things like foot disease, heart disease, and vision loss. The good news? Recent research indicates that upwards of 70 percent of people with diabetes can achieve remission through bariatric surgery. Even for those who do not achieve remission, 90 percent of diabetic patients who undergo weight loss surgery see an improvement in their health.

What’s more, the same study linked bariatric surgery to a reduction of almost 50 percent in microvascular complications like kidney disease, nerve damage, and vision problems. So while there’s nothing that can cure type 2 diabetes, weight loss surgery certainly has some potential for improving the overall health of those diagnosed with this disease. Remission is most likely soon after diagnosis, so providers are encouraged to suggest weight loss surgery for their patients who would benefit when they’re still early in the course of diabetes treatment, within the first two or three years.

While different types of bariatric surgery have a different level of impact on diabetes, the surgery isn’t the only thing that factors into the likelihood of remission. The most obvious factor in diabetes remission is weight loss, and the current recommendation is for patients with diabetes to help control their blood sugar by losing weight through diet and exercise. In patients with high BMI levels, weight loss surgery is a more effective tool than simple dietary changes and increases inactivity. What’s more, bariatric surgery can reduce insulin resistance, and may even impact diabetes by altering gastrointestinal hormones. It’s not a cure, but weight loss surgery can improve the health of patients with diabetes in a number of ways.

It’s essential to remember that it’s extremely important for a patient with diabetes to follow all instructions carefully following any kind of surgery. The good news? Research indicates that weight loss surgery does not typically pose any higher risk than other common procedures, like gallbladder removal.

If you’re ready for weight loss surgery, Garden State Bariatrics can help. An MBSAQIP accredited bariatric practice, we provide surgical and ongoing medical care to help patients reach their surgical, nutritional and lifelong goals. Passionate about our work and committed to our patients’ success, we will do everything possible to assist you in living your best life.

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