Obesity Surgery May Cure Diabetes

If losing weight fast wasn’t enough incentive, overweightAmericans now have more reasons for going under the knife. A newstudy shows that gastric bypass surgery can resolve diabetes, highblood pressure and high cholesterol.

The Journal of American Medical Association reported this weekthat stomach reduction and gastric bypass surgery not only help theextremely obese lose weight, but they also can alleviate Type 2diabetes and return high cholesterol levels to normal.

“The overwhelming majority of patients responded positively,”said Dr. Erik Dutson to the L.A Times. “This is a huge chunk ofdata that gives us very strong indications of what the reality is.”Dutson performs the surgery but did not participate in thestudy.

Researchers found patients lost an average of 61 percent oftheir excess weight, equaling for most over 100 pounds. Diabeteswas resolved in nearly 77 percent of affected patients. Cholesterollevels were lowered in at least 70 percent of patients and bloodpressure was returned to normal in nearly 62 percent of patientswho had high levels before surgery. Obstructive sleep apnea,episodes when breathing stops during sleep, was alleviated orimproved in 83.6 percent of patients who had the disorder.

Gastric bypass surgery, which involves the stapling of the upperportion of the stomach to reduce food intake is the most popularform of obesity surgery. Television personality, Al Roker, whounder went the procedure mentioned the University of Minnesotastudy on a broadcast of NBC’s Today show. These researchers alsofound this technique to be the most effective.

Dr. Henry Buchwald, the leading researcher in the study, saysthere is evidence that the surgery may cure diabetes. When theintestinal tract is rearranged in obesity surgery, patients whowere diabetic are remedied even before they start sheddingsignificant amounts of weight. Researchers believe this is due tosuch operation’s ability to alter the intestinal hormones. Otherreasons for the change in health patterns may be due to an increasein exercising and patients becoming more diet conscious, doctorssay.

Overweight and obesity in the U.S. occur at higher rates in theBlack and Hispanic communities and diabetes and heart disease areamong the leading killers in these populations. Over two-thirds ofAmericans are overweight with 8 million being diagnosed as”morbidly obese” with other risk factors that could lead to heartdisease. Many have tried dieting and appetite suppressants withlittle resolve, leaving them with surgery as a last resort saysresearchers.

“These people have severe health risks because of their obesity,and we are only doing the procedure on 1 percent or 2 percent ofthose who are eligible,” Buchwald said of the data. “We couldn’tget away with that if this were AIDS or diabetes or anything else.This is the only therapy today that is this effective

Obesity surgery is a major operation, not cosmetic tinkering,Buchwald emphasized. One in 200 Americans die from gastric bypasssurgery. There are many risks involved with gastric bypass surgeryand much should be considered before taking such a body-alteringstep. The risks include stomach problems, infections, malnutritionand, in rare cases, death. A doctor must decide for each patientwhether these risks out way the benefits.