More than 30 million American adults are living with Type 2 diabetes, and more than 90% are overweight or obese. Not only is carrying excess weight a major risk factor for diabetes, but it can also make it more difficult to control your blood sugar if you already have the condition.
For obese adults with Type 2 diabetes, gastric bypass surgery provides the best therapy for both conditions. Most patients with diabetes who undergo gastric bypass experience remission and no longer experience symptoms of the condition. What’s more, blood sugar levels typically begin normalizing immediately following surgery, before weight loss occurs.
The burden of obesity
Obesity places a tremendous burden on the body. Excess body fat puts a strain on many organs and systems that your body relies on to function properly. Your heart must work harder, your joints must take on heavier loads, and even brain function suffers. Obesity increases your risk of a wide range of chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, and even some cancers.
Bariatric, or weight loss, surgery is an extremely effective long-term solution for obesity. The surgery restricts your stomach and changes the way your body absorbs nutrients and digests food, leading to dramatic weight loss and an improvement in various health factors. Gastric bypass is a type of bariatric surgery that can provide a cure for Type 2 diabetes.
Weight loss improves glucose control
Gastric bypass surgery restricts that amount of food your stomach can hold and reroutes part of the digestive system so you don’t absorb as much food. Patients eat smaller portions of food and feel full longer, paving the way for rapid weight loss.
Shedding pounds eases the burden on the body and improves the way your body manages blood sugar. However, many patients who’ve undergone gastric bypass experience improvements in glucose control before they start losing weight.
Gastric bypass resets blood sugar control
While weight loss is known to improve blood sugar levels, gastric bypass often results in normalization of blood sugar within days of surgery. Patients typically can significantly reduce or discontinue their diabetes medication before losing a single pound.
Gastric bypass affects the hormones that control appetite and blood sugar, essentially resetting the body’s glucose control. This results in lower blood sugar almost immediately after surgery, before you even leave the hospital.
Surgery helps your body remove excess glucose
After gastric bypass surgery, the small intestine — which is responsible for absorbing nutrients — must work harder to do its job. As an adaptive strategy, your small intestine begins producing a special molecule that helps your body use glucose.
This removes more glucose from your bloodstream, effectively decreasing blood glucose levels. The change occurs fairly quickly following gastric bypass surgery.
Bariatric surgery restores insulin sensitivity
Obesity and inflammation go hand in hand, and it’s bad news for blood sugar control. When you carry excess weight, the resulting inflammation damages cells in your pancreas, the organ responsible for controlling blood sugar. The inflammation also leads to insulin resistance. Insulin is a crucial hormone that allows glucose to leave your bloodstream and enter cells for energy use.
When cells become resistant, the pancreas responds by secreting more insulin, setting off a vicious cycle. Following gastric bypass surgery, inflammation greatly decreases and, in many cases, disappears, restoring your body’s insulin sensitivity. As a result, your body is better able to handle glucose, and blood sugar levels decrease.
Left untreated, obesity can lead to a multitude of chronic diseases and eventually a premature death. As a specialist in weight loss and bariatric surgery, Dr. Christopher Reilly offers the latest advancements in weight loss, including gastric bypass and other bariatric procedures. For effective weight loss solutions, call our Houston, Texas, office or use our convenient online form to request a consultation.