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An Introduction to Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric Surgery

It has now been proven that obesity is a significant contributor to your chances of developing diabetes. It is also well known that losing weight can reduce blood sugar levels and improve or possibly reverse diabetes. It has been reported by the Centers for Disease Control that even a modest 5% - 7% reduction in body weight can greatly improve your body's sensitivity to insulin. That means you will probably need less medication for your diabetes and, in many cases, the onset of Type 2 diabetes can be delayed and possibly even prevented.

But even if you have heard these statistics and know you need to lose weight it can still be very difficult. In fact, for many obese people, the weight loss battle often goes on for a lifetime. That is because losing weight is not always simply a matter of willpower. Rather, there are serious reasons why some people cannot lose weight no matter how hard they try. Most obese people have tried to lose weight hundreds of time but have not been able to keep it off and have always gained it all back.

For those people who are facing both an inability to lose weight and life-threatening diabetes, bariatric surgery might be the best choice. Having the surgery has helped many obese people lose weight and lower their risk for stroke, heart disease, diabetes and an early death.

Bariatric Surgery Explained

Bariatric surgery is any surgery that is performed on the stomach to make it easier to lose weight. There are a number of different types of bariatric surgery including the gastric bypass where the surgeon first places stitches the upper stomach closed so the lower stomach will not get food. The upper part is called a pouch and it only holds about an ounce of food at a time. After this part of the surgery is completed, the surgeon connects a section of the small intestine called the jejunum to the pouch so the food passes from the pouch directly into the small intestine and on through the digestive system. The fact that the food actually bypasses most of the stomach means that the person will take in far fewer calories and lose weight.

Another kind of bariatric surgery is the lap-band surgery. In this case, a sleeve of plastic that is shaped like a donut is placed so it encircles the stomach. It is then cinched so it creates a small upper pouch and a larger lower pouch. This makes the food move more slowly from the upper to the lower pouch and makes you feel fuller faster so you will consume less food. The advantage to this type of surgery is that you will not lose the nutrition from any of the food you eat because you will simply eat less.

Most of the time, a person will be able to lose more weight with the gastric bypass but you will still be able to lose a significant amount of weight if you choose the lap-band surgery. As a result, your blood glucose readings will go down and your diabetes will improve.

Can bariatric surgery cure diabetes?

Diabetes is not a disease that can simply be shut off. If your body has a tendency toward insulin resistance that tendency will never go away and it is the essence of the problem with diabetes. Bariatric surgery can help reduce your blood sugar numbers and you may reach a point where you don't have to take any medications but you will always have to be aware that if you gain back the weight the diabetes will probably return. The surgery is simply a very good way to control the disease and reduce its possible life-shortening effects.

Conclusion About Bariatric Surgery

Although bariatric surgery will not completely cure diabetes, if you can maintain a healthy weight, eat well and exercise, it is very possible that you can live the same life as a non-diabetic without greater risk factors than if you never had the disease.

 

Editors Note: Image courtesy of Dr. Dennis Smith, Wellstar Bariatric Surgery Clinic, Marietta, GA. View video of Dr. Smith's surgery technique here.

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