Bariatric Procedures Can Boost Weight Loss and Reduce Diabetes Risk

Overweight woman receives medical advice from her doctor.

Weight-loss Surgery and Diabetes

Hyperglycemia is the technical term for high blood glucose (blood sugar). High blood sugar occurs when the body has too little insulin or when the body can’t use insulin properly. According to the American Diabetes Foundation, chemical reactions triggered by unmanaged insulin can impact hormones and alter physiological responses.

Cutting down on the amount of food you eat can decrease hyperglycemia. Work with a dietitian to make changes in your meal plan, urges the American Diabetes Foundation. Symptoms of hyperglycemia can develop slowly over time. The longer blood sugar levels stay high, the more serious complications can become.

Untreated, type 2 diabetes episodes can damage blood vessels in the eyes and nervous system.  People with diabetes also have a higher risk of health problems including heart attack, stroke and kidney failure.

Type 2 diabetes and new weight-loss procedures

Often called metabolic surgery, minimally invasive bariatric procedures can alter the patient’s gastrointestinal tract. According to the Endocrine Society, weight-loss surgeries change how the stomach empties into the upper part of the intestine, and then modifies the brain signals for hunger and satiation.

Surgery can also dramatically reduce appetite and optimize how the body metabolizes fat.

Metabolic surgery almost always refers to diabetes-based procedures.
Bariatric surgery is the broader term and includes different types of weight-loss surgeries.

A deadly link between obesity and diabetes

There is a strong connection between obesity and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. If you have diabetes (or even pre-diabetes), a physician may recommend losing weight as part of the treatment plan.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), significant fat loss after bariatric surgery may be due to a combination of factors:

  • Major hormonal changes
  • Daily calorie restriction
  • More efficient digestion
  • Improved nerve pathways
  • Smart eating patterns and food choices
  • Ongoing emotional support

Who’s eligible for bariatric weight-loss surgery?

Before scheduling any type of surgery, healthcare professionals typically encourage people with diabetes (and with other weight-related conditions) to try weight-loss methods. Positive lifestyle changes in the months leading up to surgery may include weight support groups, individual therapy, nutrition guides and more effective medications.

Your bariatric care team will evaluate your physical condition as well as emotional and physical obstacles along the way. According to the NIH, bariatric weight-loss providers who specialize in diabetes care may recommend surgery for people who have:

High body mass index (BMI)

  • A body mass index (BMI) over 40, even if diabetes is controlled with medication
  • BMI between 35 and 39.9 with diabetes that’s not controlled with medication.
  • BMI between 30 and 34.9 with diabetes that’s not controlled with medication, plus other weight-related conditions.

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When you’re not a match for bariatric surgery

People with chronic digestive illnesses or serious health complications may not be eligible for weight-loss surgery. Conditions that may indicate a poor match:

  • Crohn’s disease
  • History of bowel trauma
  • Untreated mental health condition
  • Substance use disorder
  • Serious lung or heart condition
  • Recent recovery from stroke or heart attack
  • Liver disease or cancer

Life-changing benefits of weight-loss surgery

Bariatric surgery can improve type 2 diabetes by lowering blood sugar and reducing the need for medication. After bariatric surgery, blood sugars may normalize with a combination of fewer calories, exercise and increased insulin secretion.

Regular follow-up visits after bariatric surgery are necessary for months or years to come. Your doctor and other professionals will continue to monitor the patient’s weight, healthy lifestyle and mindset. Moving forward, our team at TexomaCare Weight-Loss Surgery will look for signs of potential complications, such as vitamin deficiencies or excessive fatigue.

Effective long-term benefits of bariatric weight-loss surgery may include:

  • Long-term remission from diabetes
  • Enhanced mental health and body image
  • Less need for insulin and other prescriptions
  • Lower risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol
  • Improve digestion and kidney function
  • Less arthritis pain, especially in hips, knees and back

One of the most surprising outcomes of minimally invasive weight-loss surgery is that people with diabetes are often able to stop taking insulin altogether. The greatest long-term benefits can occur in patients who commit to a lean low-calorie diet, a regular exercise routine, and follow-up appointments with their care team.

Like any surgery, minimally invasive bariatric surgery carries some risks and should be discussed with your care team. Also, results will vary for patients, depending on how closely they can follow doctor recommendations and stick to the weight-loss regimen.

Find a doctor

For a free referral to our weight-loss surgeon, call the TexomaCare Weight-Loss Surgery at 903-416-6490, or search online.

Individual results may vary. There are risks associated with any surgical procedure. Talk with your doctor about these risks to find out if bariatric surgery is right for you.

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