Diabetes and Weight Loss Surgery

Diabetes and Weight Loss Surgery
Dr. Samuel Bledsoe

Nobody denies that America has a huge problem with diabetes.  Consider the facts released recently by the American Diabetes Association and the Centers for Disease Control.  By 2050, up to one American in three will suffer from diabetes.  Approximately 24 million U.S. adults have diabetes of which about 18 million of them are currently diagnosed.  About 57 million Americans have pre-diabetes meaning they have elevated blood sugars but not to the level of a diabetic.  The CDC estimates the annual cost of diabetes is $174 billion.   More than 65% of people with diabetes die of a heart attack or a stroke.

When we look at Louisiana as an individual state, the statistics become even more sobering.  In 2007, over 10% of Louisiana adults were diagnosed with diabetes.  Approximately 25% of Louisiana residents aged 65 and older have diabetes.  The prevalence of diabetes increased 97% from 1997 to 2007.  Diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death in Louisiana, and Louisiana has the highest diabetes mortality in the country. 

In 1992, a landmark paper was published entitled, “Is Type II Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM) a Surgical Disease?”  This paper detailed the results of the gastric bypass on 137 patients with diabetes.  The data revealed that diabetics were cured of their disease over 75% of the time and improved over 90% of the time.  This was astonishing information at the time and began a trend of examining the effects of weight loss surgery on diabetics.  Over the past two decades, the numbers have held true over many hundreds of manuscripts and hundreds of thousands of patients.  Weight loss surgery results in a diabetes remission rate of around 75% and results in significant improvement in approximately 90% of patients. 

If you are thinking about weight loss surgery as a cure for your diabetes, consider the following.  First, your body mass index (BMI) must be 35 or greater. There are numerous websites that can assist you with calculating your BMI, such as the one found on www.realize.com. Second, success rates are determined by many factors including choice of procedure, how long you have been diabetic, and the severity of your diabetes.  Your bariatric surgeon can help you maximize your results and give you realistic expectations.  Third, obtain as much information as possible about your medical and surgical options as it relates to diabetes.  We offer free monthly seminars designed to educate you about weight loss surgery.  This will help you decide as to whether weight loss surgery is right for you.

Weight loss surgery is not a short-cut to weight loss. It is a tool that, if properly used, can not only result in weight loss, but also can result in improved health, quality of life and self-esteem. If you are interested in more information about weight loss surgery or would like to know when the next seminar will be held, contact our board-certified surgeons Dr. Samuel Bledsoe or Dr. James Parrish at (318) 442-6767.