Health Team

Could gastric bypass surgery cure diabetes?

Posted September 29, 2008

— Gastric bypass and other surgeries have become a popular way for the obese to lose weight. The procedure has also proven effective at curing diabetes.

Mary Stanford weighed 300 pounds four years ago and was a Type 2 diabetic. Gastric bypass surgery helped her lose 140 pounds, and her diabetes disappeared almost immediately.

“(It was) definitely a relief. Your sugars are normal, you don't have to worry about testing every day (and) you don't have to worry about remembering to take your medication,” she said.

Some doctors are considering gastric bypass for a larger number of diabetics.

“We now have sufficient evidence that gastric bypass can improve diabetes dramatically,” said Dr. Francesco Rubino with the Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York.

There is an obesity threshold. Someone who is 5 feet 8 inches tall has to be at least 230 pounds to get the surgery. Rubino said he planned to begin a new study, performing the surgery on patients about 30 pounds lighter.

“We're going to compare surgery [with] conventional medical treatment to understand whether surgery might be preferable in this subset of patients,” he said.

Researchers say it's not just the weight loss that rids the body of diabetes. The surgery might also spark hormonal changes in the body.

“A large number of people with diabetes will see their diabetes drop off within days to a few weeks after the bypass, long before they've lost much weight,” said Dr. David Crumpler, an endocrinologist.

Experts say they believe it's possible that the surgery could even help diabetics who are just overweight and not obese.

“We have to be very cautious and do more studies before we offer surgery to everybody,” Rubino said.

The outcome of those studies could give millions of diabetics a new option.


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  • esprg Oct 2, 2008

    I had gastric bypass 3 years ago and I have no signs of diabetes and that I had a c-pap machine I was 420lbs now I'm 220 and I have no need for my machine :) I would do it again all over if necessary. For me it was the BEST decision!! I can go from sitting to standing and walking w/o doing the waddle and getting my knees adjusted before moving. I have more energy and I'm loving life... just waiting to get the tummy tuck now :o)

  • TeresaBee Oct 1, 2008

    It's the duodenal switch procedure not the bypass part that eliminates the diabetes. That is why people get rid of the diabetes after the procedure with just losing a few pounds. As for gastric bypass people eating all day (grazing) it is because if they eat 100 calories at one time their bodies think they are only eating 50. They eat smaller portions of food and graze.

  • larryhorse77 Oct 1, 2008

    gastric bypass is the most dangerous weightloss surgeries available today.

    Get or look into LapBand adn do yourselves a favor before thinking about gastric bypass. besides the bypass is permanent, lapband can be adjusted to fit your lifestyle at any time.

  • murdock Sep 30, 2008

    I know someone who had the surgery, got rid of her diabetes, and now has gained weight and gotten back her diabetes. The surgery is supposed to be a tool, but most think of it as a quick way out. They forget to exercise and eat what they want. They snack all day long, then we're supposed to feel sorry that the surgery did not cure their diabetes. Wake up people. Personal responsibility is the key here.

  • burtward2 Sep 30, 2008

    Wow! I am sure a diet change could be even more beneficial when coupled with the surgery. Wonder how many will again develop the disease in future years after just having the surgery.

    Now, if we can find something for the Type 1 diabetics....

  • 68_polara Sep 30, 2008

    We seem to be so worried about health care costs in this election. How about in stead of promising to expand government by providing government funded health insurance to make up for the ballooning health care costs why don't the candidates tell the electorate to loose weight. Never mind we can't handle the truth were just a bunch of whiners.