Weight Loss Surgery Is an Effective Long-Term Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes

As weight increases, so does the likelihood of type 2 diabetes. Not surprisingly, reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is the most effective treatment for type 2 diabetes. If only it were that simple—the large majority find that diet, exercise and even prescription medications are not effective for long-term weight loss. Fortunately, there is a safe, long-term treatment for both severe obesity and type 2 diabetes—bariatric surgery.

“Metabolic and bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment for type 2 diabtetes among individuals who are affected by obesity and may result in remission or improvement in nearly all cases.” –ASMBS

Bariatric surgery can have a dramatic impact on type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes.  In fact, studies show that more than 80% of type 2 diabetics having gastric bypass surgery no longer have elevated blood sugar levels. Interestingly, blood sugar levels improve almost immediately in many people–even before significant weight is lost. Ongoing research is seeking to explain this, with the reduction of caloric intake and changes in gut hormones being at least part of the puzzle. Gastric bypass is a surgery that causes food to bypass most of the stomach and the top portion of the small intestine.

Another surgery, the gastric sleeve (also referred to as sleeve gastrectomy or vertical gastrectomy), involves the removal of a large section of the stomach, leaving a thin banana or sleeve-shaped stomach. This procedure also has high type 2 diabetes remission rates–more than 60%.

“For the first time in diabetes history we have a concrete chance to create a major shift in treatment goals:  from improving life with diabetes to the hope of a life without it.”

–Francesco Rubino

We’ve known for years that bariatric surgery is more effective than medications for treating type 2 diabetes in obese individuals.  A new study, led by Dr. Francesco Rubino, found that the positive benefits last at least 5 years.

Over half of the weight-loss surgery patients in the study reached and maintained full remission of their diabetes over the 5-year study period. Even those who did not had lower blood sugar levels and used far fewer diabetes medications. They were also less likely to have diabetes- related health issues such as heart attack, stroke and kidney disease.




About Deb Hart

Deb Hart is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. For the last 28 years, she has been helping bariatric surgery patients reach their health and weight goals. She teaches people how to set up a lifestyle that supports a healthy weight. Deb set up her own lifestyle to include lots of long walks with her furry family members, workout classes at her local wellness center, meal prepping, and finding new ways to enjoy foods without added sugar.
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