Diabetes is itself a potentially life-threatening condition. Having diabetes also puts you at risk for other long-term health complications and the risk for premature death.
Because obesity can be a contributing factor to diabetes and its complications, our bariatric specialists Christopher Reilly, MD, FACS, Steven M. Thomas, MD, FACS, and Genna Lubrano, MD can provide weight loss surgery consultations at OakBend Medical Group to see if surgery is the right next step for you.
An overview of different types of diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how your body metabolizes sugar from the foods you eat into the energy your body needs to function. Typically, your body produces the insulin hormone to regulate blood sugar levels and assist with the conversion of food to energy.
When you have diabetes, this process doesn’t work as it should, which results in high blood sugar levels that can ultimately lead to damage and disease.
There are three primary types of diabetes that affect men and women:
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that causes your immune system to mistakenly attack the pancreas, the organ that produces insulin. As a result, your body does produce enough insulin to control blood sugar levels.
Type 1 diabetes often develops in childhood, although it can occur in adults, too.
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes results when your body can’t produce enough insulin to control blood sugar levels or doesn’t use the insulin it makes properly.
This type of diabetes most often develops because of a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle.
Prediabetes describes blood sugar levels that are high, but not high enough to be considered diabetes. Having this condition increases your risk for developing type 2 diabetes at some point.
Women can also develop gestational diabetes, a condition that describes high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. This type of diabetes requires medical care, but it usually resolves after childbirth.
Consequences of diabetes that affect your long-term health
While there’s nothing you can do to prevent type 1 diabetes, there are strategies you can use now to lower your risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
If left untreated or poorly managed, diabetes can increase your risk for:
- Kidney failure
- Cardiovascular disease
- Premature cognitive decline
- Diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage)
You might also be at increased risk for open wounds and ulcers on your feet and lower legs. Some people ultimately require amputation surgery to remove diseased toes and feet because of the damage diabetes can cause in the lower extremities.
When bariatric surgery makes sense
There is much research about the complications excess body fat can cause, especially in those already diagnosed with diabetes. Losing weight is an important strategy in the fight against type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, and can also reduce your risk for heart disease and other serious health complications.
If weight loss is difficult because you have a lot of weight to lose or if you’re limited in what you can do physically, you may be a candidate for bariatric surgery.
Our bariatric specialists offer comprehensive evaluations to determine if surgery is right for you. They perform advanced, minimally invasive weight loss surgeries, including gastric bypass, Lap-Band® placement, and gastric sleeve procedures to support fast and safe weight loss.
If you have risk factors for diabetes or are already living with the disease and need to lose weight, schedule a consultation online or call the OakBend Medical Group office today.