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Bariatric Surgery can reverse Diabetes

For years now, scientists and surgeons have marveled at the beneficial effects of the gastric bypass surgery. The surgery involves removal of a part of the stomach and small intestine so that the amount of food you consume and digest is physically restricted. The procedure leads to dramatic weight loss. What is more remarkable is that it also puts type 2 diabetes in remission for some patients. For some people who underwent bariatric surgery, the blood sugar levels go back to normal after the surgery. This means that you may need less or no medication at all, to cure your diabetes.

Studies on the phenomenon say that it is related to the inflammation caused by the overactive immune cells which build up in fatty tissue. This inflammation leads to issues like insulin resistance which results in the body needing to produce more and more insulin in order to control the blood glucose levels. In the end, this leads to the insulin producing cells in your pancreas to give out, causing diabetes. When you undergo a gastric bypass surgery, the inflammation decreases or disappears almost right away. This means that the cells come back to life again and your body’s sensitivity to insulin begins to increase again. Most people see a reversal in the course of type 2 diabetes within a few days after their bariatric surgery.

One point of discussion, however, is whether the beneficial changes in the cells are due to the surgery itself or the low calorie diet that follows the surgery. It is a proven fact that calorie restriction is very powerful in reducing high blood glucose. A gastric bypass surgery means a lifetime of enforced diet restriction. If you have undergone the gastric bypass (also known as Roux-en-Y), you will only be able to eat about 800 calories a day and the week following your surgery, you may not eat at all. Even as research continues with different controlled study groups, it is obvious that it is calorie restriction that causes a change in the cells, either as a result of the bariatric surgery or as part of a controlled diet.

When you consult a bariatric surgeon for bariatric surgery, he will determine your candidacy for the procedure by considering your BMI (35 or higher) and he would want to know if you have tried losing weight and keeping it off without success. A bariatric surgery is an important decision and you have to be physically and mentally ready for several changes, especially making healthy diet and exercise a part of your daily life. A number of other doctors may get involved at this stage depending on your specific case. For instance, if you are suffering from a heart disease, your cardiologist will have to approve the surgery.

There are several options for weight loss surgeries; some help lose weight by shrinking the size of the stomach so that you feel full after smaller meals; there are other procedures which change the way your body absorbs nutrients, vitamins and calories. And then there are others that offer both of these.

Most patients report losing 40 to 60 percent of their body fat after one of these weight loss surgeries and up to 80% of patients show no sign of post operational diabetes. With the sleeve gastrectomy, you also get reduced Ghrelin which is the hormone that makes you feel hungry. However, this is a surgical procedure that cannot be reversed later unlike the Lap Band surgery which is reversible. In addition to diabetes, patients also see a great improvement in other medical problems they may be facing due to obesity like cardiovascular diseases, renal, musculoskeletal and metabolic issues.

Once the best surgical procedure has been determined for your specific case, it makes sense to work with a nutritionist to change your eating habits while ensuring you get sufficient vitamins and minerals. You may also want to consider a plastic surgery procedure to eliminate the excessive skin after weight loss.

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