Weight Loss Surgery Helps Cure Diabetes
Posted January 28, 2008 12:39 p.m. EST
Updated January 29, 2008 2:00 p.m. EST
A new type of weight loss surgery can also help send diabetes into remission, according to a study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Researchers found that diabetes sufferers who undergo gastric banding surgery not only lose weight but also get a significant boost in their fight against diabetes.
The surgery can give quick help to diabetics who struggle to change lifestyle habits that contribute to diabetes.
Excessive fat tissue often triggers Type 2 diabetes, which makes the body more resistant to insulin.
Patricia Zeolla weighed 285 pounds when, as many obese people do, she developed diabetes.
That weight "was extremely uncomfortable," Zeolla said. "I was getting short of breath, high blood pressure, high blood sugar." So, Zeolla elected to undergo gastric banding surgery to lose weight.
In that surgery, an inflatable ring is placed around the upper part of the stomach, creating a small pouch. A syringe of saline injected through a small portal on the skin inflates or deflates the ring. That allows a person to control how quickly food passes from the pouch to the lower part of their stomach.
Researchers undertook the task of evaluating the effects of weight loss from gastric banding surgery on diabetes. In the study, one group of diabetes patients underwent the surgery, and the other group received nutritional counseling and was encouraged to diet and exercise.
After two years, the surgery group lost much more weight, and 73 percent of its members saw their diabetes go into remission. Only 13 percent in the diet and exercise group had their diabetes cured.
Diabetics often struggle with adopting a healthier lifestyle, and that is precisely where gastric-banding surgery can help, researchers said.
"The device is helping people make the changes that years and years and research have shown are very difficult to accomplish without aid," Dr. Mitchell Roslin, an bariatric surgeon, said.
After losing weight through gastric banding surgery, Zeolla said she is happy with her new look and feels as if her diabetes no longer weighs her down.
"This is a second lease on life," Zeolla said.