Weight Loss

Bariatric surgery offers new hope for patients with type 2 diabetes

There’s encouraging news for millions of type 2 diabetes patients — bariatric surgery has now been approved as a treatment for diabetes by the American Diabetes Association (ADA). For people who haven’t had luck controlling their blood sugar with diet, exercise, or medication plans, bariatric surgery might be the answer.

While 50 percent of diabetes sufferers benefit substantially from behavioral or pharmaceutical interventions, the other half — nearly 15 million patients — have long sought an alternative.

At Eviva, we’ve been treating patients with type 2 diabetes with bariatric surgery for years, and have seen first-hand its power to change people’s lives for the better, helping them to get back in control of their blood sugar. 

Just last week the ADA caught up to us, announcing that overwhelming clinical evidence has led them to publish a new set of guidelines for treating type 2 diabetes. Those guidelines, endorsed by 45 professional associations — including the International Diabetes Federation and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery — finally recognize bariatric surgery as a highly-effective approach to treating diabetes.

For the first time, bariatric surgery is being regarded as a standard treatment for diabetes.

A new standard treatment

Now that the ADA’s treatment guidelines for type 2 diabetes have been updated to include bariatric surgery as a standard treatment, the results will be wide-sweeping. In the US, almost 38 percent of adults are living with obesity and many of those adults have or will develop type 2 diabetes.

There were 29 million Americans with type 2 diabetes as of 2014, according to the CDC, and that number has only continued to grow. More than a million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed each year.

Now, those millions of patients have another treatment option, and based on a decade’s worth of clinical trials, that treatment option may work better than any other known intervention. Eighty percent of bariatric patients experienced either complete diabetic remission, or had their blood-sugar levels sufficiently stabilized to reduce their medication intake, including stopping insulin.

Diabetes is never easy, but bariatric surgery is offering patients a good reason for optimism about their diagnosis. Many affected by the disease now have a strong chance of seeing serious improvement or even remission from their diabetes through bariatric surgery.

What is bariatric surgery?

Bariatric or weight-loss surgery refers a number of different procedures, which have been performed by surgeons—including those at Eviva—for years. Some of the most advanced procedures have actually been pioneered by our very own surgeons and, from there, spread throughout the nation.

Two of the most common bariatric procedures are lapsleeve and gastric bypass. In a Lapsleeve procedure, we remove a section of a person’s stomach along its length, using minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques. The result is a narrowed stomach that resembles a shirt sleeve.

In contrast, gastric bypass divides the stomach into two and reroutes the small intestine to the upper part of the stomach. We use laparoscopic techniques to make a small pouch at the top of the stomach. Then, that small stomach pouch is connected directly to the middle part of the small intestine, bypassing the rest of the stomach and the upper portion of the small intestine.

As of this week, both lapsleeve and gastric bypass are approved bariatric interventions for treating type 2 diabetes.

Changes in care create hope for the future

The ADA’s new guidelines are offering a ray of hope for patients with type 2 diabetes, especially those with a BMI over 35 who have struggled to control their blood-glucose levels using conventional medical therapies.

There are many frustrated people who have tried diet, exercise, and insulin with no results. For them, bariatric surgery is offering a real opportunity to get their diabetes under control and to improve their quality of life.  

The changes to the clinical guidelines for treating diabetes represent the biggest change in diabetes treatment in a century—and that’s exciting. It means that medicine hasn’t stalled out on helping people with diabetes; we’ve only just gotten started.

As we learn more about what causes diabetes and how to most effectively approach treatments, we get ever closer to a cure for a disease that affects so many.

If you are carrying extra weight we invite you to reach out to us. We want to hear your story and to provide a tailored plan to alleviate the burdens you don’t need to live with. It’s time.

References:

American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. “New guidelines call for metabolic surgery as treatment for diabetes.” Connect. Online. Accessed June 22, 2016. http://connect.asmbs.org/june-2016-diabetes-recos.html

Virginia, Alexandria. Consensus from diabetes organizations worldwide: metabolic surgery recognized as a standard treatment option for type 2 diabetes. Online. Published May 24, 2016. Accessed June 22, 2016. http://j.mp/28MZxMc

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “Diabetes latest.” Online. Published June 17, 2014. Accessed June 22, 2016. http://www.cdc.gov/features/diabetesfactsheet/