Trying to get around Manhattan and enjoy the sights is difficult enough when you are overweight or obese, but if you also have diabetes caused by your obesity, it can make it virtually impossible. If you suffer from diabetes that was brought on by obesity, you know how it can affect your circulation and your mobility. Hopping in a cab to catch a Broadway show, checking out Times Square or taking a nature hike in Central Park are out of the question.
Type 2 diabetes and obesity are closely linked together. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, obesity is the number one risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes and losing weight can help prevent its development, stop its progression, or in many cases make it go away completely. For obese patients that haven’t been able to lose weight through conventional means, bariatric surgery is the solution you are looking for.
Types of Diabetes Surgery
Both gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy modify the stomach and digestive system, while gastric band surgery is less invasive, restricting the amount of food your stomach can hold at one time using an implanted medical device Gastric Bypass – consists of sectioning off the stomach to create a tiny gastric pouch and rerouting the small intestine so it bypasses the main part of the stomach entirely. This surgery is performed laparoscopically.
Sleeve Gastrectomy – involves converting your stomach from a 1200 cc muscular reservoir into a 120 cc narrow tube using a series of staplers. With a sleeve gastrectomy, the small intestine is not disturbed and the nerves supplying the stomach are left intact. This surgery is performed laparoscopically.
Adjustable Gastric Band Surgery – is a laparoscopic procedure that consists of an inflatable silicone band being placed around the upper portion of the stomach. The band is inflated to create a small stomach pouch on the top, with a narrow opening leading to the lower portion of the stomach. The upper part of the stomach fills up quickly, so you feel full fast and can only eat a small amount of food at one time. The narrow opening slows digestion to make you feel full longer.
Benefits of Losing Weight
The primary benefit of any bariatric procedure for diabetes is controlling blood glucose levels by losing a significant amount of weight. Surgeries like gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy typically result in faster weight loss than the adjustable gastric band. The Wall Street Journal has reported that when bariatric surgery diverts foods away from the blood sugar regulating hormones in the small intestine, diabetes can “quickly recede.” In fact, over 75% of obese type 2 diabetes sufferers no longer have symptoms or require medications after having a bariatric procedure.
Depending on the type of bariatric surgery used for your diabetes, the recovery time may vary. For more complex procedures like gastric bypass you typically stay in the hospital for two nights. For sleeve gastrectomy and gastric banding the hospital stay is usually one night. Whichever procedure you have, make sure you follow your surgeon’s instructions and don’t stop taking your diabetes medications until you’ve been cleared to do so.
The type of diabetes surgery you have will dictate what kinds of risk you will face. Any surgery carries with it the normal risks associated with general anesthetic, but the more invasive procedures also have increased risks of infection and bleeding after the surgery.
Some potential health risks include:
• Bleeding at the incision site or internally
• Blood clots (deep-vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolus)
• Pneumonia and other lung issues
• Increased heart attack risk
• Infection at the incision sites or internally for gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy patients
Dietary Guidelines After Surgery
Although the surgery is geared toward relieving or reversing your diabetes, it is still a bariatric procedure and will require you to follow the same dietary guidelines as every bariatric patient. After the surgery, you will be on a pureed diet for 4 weeks. After that, solid foods are started, albeit in very small amounts. As the weeks and months pass, you will be given updated dietary guidelines that work best for weight loss and for controlling your diabetes.
Follow Up Plan
Since this bariatric procedure is focused on a specific health condition that’s been caused by your obesity, it is critical that you don’t miss any scheduled appointments. Your doctors will want to monitor and evaluate your weight loss, and possibly adjust your diabetes medications as the weight continues to come off.