For years, doctors have been evaluating the benefits of gastric bypass surgery. Though not without inherent risks, bariatric surgery has a history of helping patients committed to a bariatric diet achieve and maintain healthy weight. And while the benefits of such weight loss are well-known, gastric bypass is continuing show that it can help patients with a host of other, related medical issues.
A study by researchers at the University of Minnesota shows a link between gastric bypass surgery and a stabilization of blood sugar levels, meaning the surgery may help patients struggling with diabetes. What Were the Results? Sayeed Kamden, head researcher at the University of Minnesota, and his team performed a study to see how gastric bypass effected ailments commonly associated with obesity, including Type 2 diabetes. The study tracked 120 patients, half of which received gastric bypass surgery. All participants received the same weight-loss counseling and medical assistance.
The results of the study were significant and recently published in the Journal of American Medical Association. 49% of the people who underwent gastric bypass surgery saw a stabilization of blood sugar levels, compared to only 19% of those who did not have the surgery. Amazingly, some of the patients were able to see a stabilization of blood sugar levels even before they were released from the hospital after surgery.
Why Does Gastric Bypass Surgery Help with Diabetes? Since the release of these results, doctors and researchers have been trying to determine what the connection is between gastric bypass surgery and diabetes. Some believe that the restructuring of the stomach during surgery has a significant effect on hormonal balances in the body. This, in turn, helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. Others believe that with the Roux-end Y bypass surgery—the surgery performed in this study—requires the body to form tissues called Roux. Creating this tissue requires a lot of sugar to produce, which could directly impact blood sugar levels.
What Does This Mean for You? If you are dealing with Type 2 diabetes, you may be wondering if this is the right solution for you. Well, it might be, but not all doctors are onboard. Many medical doctors worry that the possible side effects associated with gastric bypass surgery are not worth the benefits received. Some doctors believe that this may be a good solution for people who are mild to moderately obese but too dangerous for those who are diagnosed with morbid obesity. They believe with proper post-operative care, such as proper nutrition through the use of bariatric vitamins and supplements, and regular medical care this option may be viable for some patients.
Researchers believe that if they can track down the exact connection between gastric bypass surgery and stabilizing blood sugar levels they may be able to develop medication that would have the same effect.
If you are currently struggling with both obesity and Type 2 diabetes, this study provides hope that there are possible treatments available. However, to determine if this is the right type of surgery for your specific case, you should talk to your doctor. You will need to compare the risk of surgery to the possible benefits that result, to see if this is the right choice.