Bariatric Surgery Benefits Add Up for Type 2 Diabetics
If you have type 2 diabetes and you’re overweight or obese, it might seem like your life revolves around the numbers on your glucose meter and your scale. That’s because the current therapy for diabetes includes weight loss, diet and exercise and anti-diabetes medications – all working together to help keep blood sugar levels under control.
Diabetes Numbers Show How Difficult It Is
Even with your best efforts, it’s a battle that can get more difficult because this chronic and progressive disease tends to worsen with time, requiring more medication to keep blood sugars under control. In fact, diabetes remains the leading cause of death in the U.S. and a leading contributor to disease and death from heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. Other statistics from the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) include:
- Every 10 seconds someone in the world dies from diabetes complications
- Life expectancy is reduced 12-14 years for type 2 diabetics
- Health expenditure are 2.3 times higher for diabetics versus non-diabetics
Bariatric Weight Loss Can Improve Diabetic Numbers
The numbers don’t have to work against you. Weight loss from bariatric surgery has been found to improve blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of disease and death. The results were dramatic among more than 135,000 people with diabetes who had bariatric surgery, according to the ASMBS:
- 90% lowered their blood sugar, reduced the dose and type of medication they have to take and improved diabetes-related health problems.
- 78% reduced blood sugar to normal levels and eliminated the need for diabetic medications
- Diabetes improvement or remission lasts years after surgery
Getting your diabetes in good control also reduces your risk of related health problems including heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, neuropathy, amputations, impotency, depression, cognitive decline and increased risk of death from some forms of cancer.
Determining if Surgery is Right for You
Like all procedures, bariatric surgery carries some risks, but they are no greater than the risks you’d face undergoing gall bladder surgery. Whether bariatric surgery is right for you is determined in part by your body mass index (BMI) numbers. The American Diabetes Association offers these guidelines:
- BMI > 40 Surgery is recommended even if your diabetes is well controlled with medications
- BMI 35 – 39.9 Surgery should be considered if diabetes is not well controlled on medications
- BMI 30 – 35 Surgery should be considered when diabetes is not controlled by medications and especially when other major cardiovascular disease risk factor are present
Be sure to talk to your care provider about your condition and potential risks. The significant lifestyle changes related to this type of surgery should also be considered. Together, you can determine whether this approach is right for you! For more information head to our CHI Health Bariatric section, or take our free Weight Health Risk Assessment.
Mary Cate is a dietitian with CHI Health Weight Management. Her love of food and nutrition stems from many years of playing sports and growing up in a family that loves to cook. Her goal is to help people learn that nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated and that it should be an enjoyable part of our lives.