Weight loss has always been a fine reason to consider gastric bypass surgery, but now a further benefit has been revealed: a reduction in diabetes.
A pair of new reports in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine compare weight loss surgery to conventional medical treatment in obese diabetes. In each study, surgery had the biggest impact, inducing remission of diabetes to a far greater degree than medical therapy.
Lisa Lucente is one benefactor of this. She had gastric bypass surgery about seven months ago, and as the weight has fallen off, she’s also seen significant improvement in her diabetes, a grave problem in itself. She told the journal:
“It got to the point where we couldn’t control the morning sugars, so we went to the highest dose of both of my oral medications. And they put me also on an injectable twice a day and the next step was going to be insulin.”
Lucente has now seen a significant remission of her diabetes, and says:
“Now I wish I would have done it ten years ago. But I did it now and I had to be ready and I was ready and I did it and I’m just thrilled.”
Dr. Joseph Caruana, Chief of Bariatric Surgery at Sisters Hospital, explained:
“You’ve been on 100 milligrams of Metformin, reduce that to 500, you’re going to take that at night, and I would expect probably within the next month or so, you might not need that altogether.”
Caruana has carried out weight loss surgery on over 4,000 patients, and this is a frequent occurrence for him. He adds:
“Even within days, two to three days after gastric bypass, when it was time to send a patient home, they were going home with a lot less medication than they came in with.”
So why is gastric bypass so much more successful? Dr. Caruana thinks he has an an explanation:
“Patients before surgery had circulating blood levels of toxins in their system, probably from their own gastrointestinal tract, which were greatly reduced by gastric bypass.”