Is Surgery the Answer to Your Diabetes?

Recent studies have found that patients who undergo gastric bypass surgery are more likely to have remission of their diabetes compared to patients who receive a gastric sleeve or adopting intensive lifestyle modifications.

This surgery is, of course, only performed in patients who have trouble with weight since the primary goal is not to “cure” diabetes.

The Study 

A recent study showed that the effect of surgery is durable. The authors followed 134 type 2 diabetics for 5 years and compared various methods of weight-loss. Results were as follows:

  • 2 out of 38 patients opting for intensive diet and exercise no longer need insulin (5.26%).
  • 11 out of 47 patients opting for gastric sleeve (reduces stomach size) no longer need insulin (23.40%).
  • 14 out of 49 patients opting for gastric bypass (reduces stomach size and shorter digestion time) no longer need insulin (28.57%).

This study also found that patients who underwent gastric bypass yet still require insulin had greater weight loss and lower glucose levels compared to other patients.

The Surgery

Does it sound like a great shortcut to your diabetes? Well, before you jump on the bandwagon, here are a few basics:

#1 – The surgery makes your stomach smaller. Hence, you will feel full with less food.

#2 – Your body does not get all the calories as food no longer goes to some parts of your stomach and small intestine.


Patients can experience dramatic weight loss that may persist for 1.5-2 years, with some being to maintain 60-70% weight loss for 10 years. This improves glucose control, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and -potentially- the quality of life!

Sounds like rainbows and butterflies, right? But wait.

Potential Disadvantages

Gastric bypass requires patients to make a lifelong change in diet and lifestyle. Since this surgery affects how your body absorbs calories, complications such as anemia and malnutrition may occur. Patients may need to take mineral and vitamin supplements.

Dumping syndrome may also occur if patients eat foods that are high in sugar. Excessive sugar intake can result in abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. Gastric bypass surgery is also a major surgery, and all surgeries have risks such as infection and blood loss.

Consider talking to your doctor if this is an option you would like to consider.

[expand title=”References“]

Pros and cons of gastric bypass. Hallmark Health. 2012.

Beil L. Gastric bypass controls diabetes long term better than other methods. Science News. 2017.


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