shutterstock_1723848115_2jo0GfW..jpeg (shutterstock_1723848115.webp)For people with diabetes, weight loss surgery is far more than just a procedure to help achieve healthy weight loss. It can also be a powerful tool in managing and potentially reversing type 2 diabetes. Research suggests that bariatric surgery, commonly known as weight loss surgery, may radically alter the course of diabetes, potentially leading to significant improvements in blood sugar control or even remission.

Over the past few decades, the United States has witnessed a sharp increase in the prevalence of both obesity and diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, the number of Americans with diagnosed diabetes has tripled over the past 20 years. This underscores the urgency of effective interventions, like weight loss surgery, in the battle against diabetes.

In this blog, we will delve into the relationship between weight loss surgery and diabetes, including how bariatric surgery can help improve diabetes, and how the experts at Atlanta Bariatrics can help guide you on your weight loss journey.

Understanding Diabetes and Obesity

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects the way the body processes blood sugar, or glucose, which is vital for health as it's the source of energy for the cells that make up your muscles and tissues. There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.

  • Type 1 diabetes, previously known as insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes, is an autoimmune condition where the immune system mistakenly attacks the insulin-producing pancreatic cells, resulting in little to no production of insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar. This type of diabetes is less common and is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can occur at any age.
  • Type 2 diabetes, the more prevalent type, affects the way the body uses insulin. While the body still makes insulin, unlike in type 1, the cells don't respond as effectively to it. This is known as insulin resistance. Initially, the pancreas makes more insulin to compensate, but over time it can't keep up, and the body can't maintain normal glucose levels. Type 2 diabetes can develop at any age but is more common in people over 40.

Obesity and diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes, share a complex and multifaceted relationship. Obesity, defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more, is a significant risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes.

Fat cells, especially those stored around the abdomen, release pro-inflammatory chemicals that interfere with the normal balance of insulin, leading to insulin resistance. As insulin resistance develops, the pancreas produces more insulin to overcome the body's weak response, causing an overworked pancreas that eventually can't keep up with the demand, resulting in high blood sugar levels.

Complications from the coexistence of obesity and diabetes are numerous and severe. These may include heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and certain types of cancer. Obesity also makes managing diabetes more challenging, as it further reduces the body's ability to use insulin effectively. In short, the relationship between obesity and diabetes is a cycle of negative reinforcement, where one condition exacerbates the other, leading to a cascade of health issues if left untreated.

This relationship further underscores the importance and potential benefits of weight loss, particularly through bariatric surgery, as an effective intervention to break this cycle and improve overall health.

The Effect of Weight Loss Surgery on Diabetes

While traditional diabetes medications play an essential role in managing diabetes symptoms, they often come with undesirable side effects such as weight gain and low blood sugar. Bariatric surgery, however, offers support for this, with the possibility of getting off or significantly reducing how often you use diabetes medication.

Several types of bariatric or weight loss surgeries, such as gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy, are considered effective interventions. These procedures limit food intake and/or absorption, helping patients lose significant weight over time. This directly improves their body's ability to regulate blood sugar levels, and losing weight in this way is often more effective than a traditional weight loss program or a very low-calorie diet.

In many cases, people with type 2 diabetes who undergo bariatric surgery see their blood glucose levels return to near-normal or even normal ranges, effectively putting their diabetes into remission as they lose weight. This means they're able to maintain normal blood glucose levels without the need for diabetes medication or insulin therapy.

Finally, by losing the extra weight, patients improve their overall health, which leads to a reduction in the risk of diabetes-related complications. The result is a healthier and more fulfilling life, illustrating the profound benefits of bariatric surgery over traditional diabetes medications.

It's important to note that while not everyone will achieve complete remission, many people experience a significant improvement in managing their diabetes. It's always important to discuss all treatment options with your healthcare provider to ensure the best care plan for you is implemented.

Choosing Weight Loss Surgery for Diabetes Management

Determining eligibility for weight loss surgery involves a comprehensive evaluation of an individual's overall health. Specifically, their BMI, existing health conditions, and their willingness to commit to postoperative lifestyle changes.

To qualify for bariatric surgery, many insurance companies will require the following criteria:

  • 100 lbs over your ideal body weight or a BMI of more than 40, with or without comorbid conditions.
  • A BMI between 35 and 40 also may qualify with associated comorbid conditions such as high blood pressure, sleep apnea, heart disease, or diabetes.
  • Previous weight-loss efforts like medically-supervised diet plans, exercise, and behavioral modification programs have been unsuccessful.

In addition, it's important that patients understand the procedures, accept the changes they'll need to make in their life after their surgery, and are motivated to make these lifelong commitments that include well-balanced meals and physical exercise.

When seeking a healthcare team for weight loss surgery, Atlanta Bariatrics stands out as an exceptional choice. Our team is composed of highly skilled and compassionate professionals who are committed to providing personalized care tailored to your unique health needs and goals.

Preparing for Weight Loss Surgery

Adopt a Healthy Diet: It's crucial to start making dietary changes even before surgery. This may include reducing portion sizes, eating more fruits and vegetables, and cutting back on sugar and fat. Our in-office registered dietitians will be able to provide you with more personalized instructions.

Start an Exercise Routine: Physical activity is an essential part of the post-surgery lifestyle. Start gradually incorporating exercises like walking or swimming into your routine, under the guidance of a healthcare provider.

Quit Smoking: If you smoke, it's important to stop as it can complicate both the surgery and the recovery process.

Mentally Preparing for Surgery

  • Educate Yourself: Understand the surgery process, its benefits, and potential risks. This will help set realistic expectations and ease any anxiety or fears.
  • Establish Support Systems: Surround yourself with supportive friends and family who understand your journey and can provide emotional support during the process. Consider joining a support group for people who have undergone or are considering weight loss surgery.
  • Prepare for Lifestyle Changes: The surgery is just the first step. Be prepared for substantial lifestyle changes, including a new diet and exercise routine.

Remember that bariatric surgery is a tool to aid weight loss, and its success largely depends on your commitment to lifestyle changes. With proper diet, exercise, and lifestyle modifications, you can experience a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Talk to The Experts at Atlanta Bariatrics

If you're exploring options for weight loss for diabetics, consider the potential benefits of bariatric surgery. This transformative procedure is not simply about losing weight; it's a proven, effective approach to managing diabetes and enhancing overall health.

Bariatric surgery can help regulate blood sugar levels, potentially putting your diabetes into remission and reducing the need for diabetes medications. It's an opportunity to reclaim control over your health and embark on a journey towards a healthier, more fulfilling life.

Take the first step on your health transformation journey today. The experienced medical professionals and bariatric surgeons at Atlanta Bariatrics are ready to support you every step of the way. Whether you're just beginning to explore bariatric surgery or already decided to proceed, we encourage you to reach out to our team.

We're committed to providing personalized advice and a tailored treatment plan that aligns with your unique health needs and goals. Don't delay, take control of your health and diabetes management today.

Ready to feel happier and healthier? Call (770) 232-9252 today to schedule your first consultation with the weight loss surgeons and specialists at Atlanta Bariatrics. We can’t wait to help you take the first step!