Bariatric Surgery & Diabetes

Surgery and DiabetesAs recently as September of 2012, researchers have begun to see a new phenomenon: gastric bypass surgery curing type 2 diabetes. The University of Maryland recently observed a patient, Brenda Maker, who days after a bariatric surgery no longer had type 2 diabetes. Her body was observed to be producing enough insulin to be turned into body energy (fuel). Researchers believe that this type of surgery may be successful for other diabetics as well given Ms. Maker’s success. Last fall, researchers also began examining other ways to cure diabetes. Professor Steven Munder of the Maryland School of Medicine has, for the past two years, been working on cures for diabetes. “If we could find a way of mimicking the anti-diabetes surgery without surgery, it might be a nice alternative and whole new way of therapeutically addressing diabetes,” said Munger, who recently published his research in the American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism.

It is important to understand though that every diabetic may not necessarily be a candidate for bariatric surgery or even want the surgery. There are an estimated 26 million Americans who have diabetes, most notably, type 2. Complications result from diabetes such as high blood pressure, nervous system and kidney damage, as well as other ailments. The disease has been projected to cost about $116 billion in health care expenses. The diabetes association has not recommended bariatric surgery for all diabetics as the surgery is life-changing. The surgery that has shown great promise is gastric bypass.

In gastric bypass surgery, the overall goal is to reduce the amount of food one consumes. It is the usually considered among many laypeople to be the last resort when diets and other forms of losing weight have not worked as well as the individual had hoped. Gastric bypass has been proven to improve one’s quality of life as it improves appearance and, in essence, mobility. Many of the complications that occur with diabetes have also been alleviated with gastric bypass. Gastric bypass is a particularly complex procedure that requires the individual to undergo anesthesia. There are two specific techniques that are available for the gastric bypass form of bariatric surgery: roux-en-Y-gastric bypass and biliopancreatic diversion bypass surgery. In the Roux-en-Y bypass, there are fewer complications and portions of the stomach are not removed, whereas in the biliopancreatic diversion bypass, portions of the stomach are removed. The former is more commonly done due to the many nutritional risks associated with the biliopancreatic diversion bypass. In both techniques, a small stomach pouch is created within the stomach area to curb appetite. The pouch is stapled to the stomach and then doctors take a part of the small intestine and attach it to the pouch. This inhibits food from passing through the duodenum, diverting it to the jejunum.  Most weight loss is normally seen within a year after the surgery. In Maker’s case, the surgery proved to be extremely beneficial and scientists have determined that with continual recommendations to diabetic patients like Maker, that it will be advantageous in the future.



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