Weight Loss Surgery (Obesity Surgery) & Diabetes


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Obesity and diabetes are very closely linked.  Diabetes is a serious health condition, and there are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.  Type 1 diabetes usually is diagnosed in childhood and adolescents.  Type 2 diabetes is associated with weight gain and is developed in adulthood.  Typically it is find in obese patients, over 80% of those with Type 2 diabetes are in fact obese.

Having diabetes means that your body does not produce enough of the hormone insulin.  Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use blood sugar for energy. Not being able to produce enough insulin results in blood sugar or glucose building up in the blood and causing many problems.  Complications of diabetes include heart disease, blindness, nerve damage and kidney damage.  Even with medication and improvements in exercise diabetes can lead to serious health problems such as losing limbs, drug reactions, ulcer and infections. 

An obese person is at high risk of developing diabetes and a morbidly obese person is ten times more likely to develop diabetes.  The link between obesity and diabetes can’t be disputed, however the relationship between the two conditions is still not fully understood, even by experts.  It has been discovered that having too much abdominal fat is associated with a deficiency in the body’s response to insulin. Research is still needed in this area for medical science to understand the relationship between obesity and diabetes.  Being obese increases your chances of developing diabetes even if you have not been diagnosed.  Due to the serious nature of diabetes this is one major reason to have weight loss surgery.

Typically losing excess weight and making healthy lifestyle choices such as having a healthy well-balanced diet and taking regular exercise is the first type of treatment for Type 2 diabetes.  When these steps do not work and if you are unable to maintain a healthy lower weight, generally medications are prescribed.  Diabetes medications work in different ways; some medication help the pancreas to produce more insulin, others help the body to use insulin more efficiently.  Sometimes medications such as these are not effective and the patient may have to take insulin for the rest of their lives. 

Losing weight will greatly improve your chances of curing your diabetes and achieving normal blood sugar levels.  Weight loss surgery has been heralded as ‘the cure’ for diabetes and all results show that surgery is an effective tool in the fight against diabetes.  However ‘tool’ is the word here to bear in mind, losing and maintaining a healthy weight is down to you and you alone.  The good news is that many have with the help of weight loss surgery have successfully lost and maintained a healthy weight and no longer have any need for diabetes medications post surgery.

The motivation to reduce or cease the risk of death from diabetes or a related health condition is often very strong and leads many patients and their GP’s into seriously considering weight loss surgery.  Your surgeon/GP will be very supportive to your weight loss surgery if you are morbidly obese and face risk of serious health conditions such as diabetes. Weight loss surgery is recommended for those suffering from diabetes with a BMI of over 35 by most bariatric surgeons.  There is no doubt in the medical profession that weight loss surgery does greatly improve a patient’s chances of curing diabetes.  The risk of long term mortality after weight loss surgery for most patients is vastly reduced. 

You may be frustrated if you wish to have weight loss surgery and you have been rejected by your NHS Trust or PCT because you had a BMI lower than 35.  Many obese people face the risk of developing diabetes or have diabetes and have a BMI lower than 35.  Weight loss surgery could greatly reduce their risk of developing this serious health condition.  Although having a lower BMI makes you less of a prime candidate for weight loss surgery with your NHS Trust or PCT it is still worth pursing if you are at risk or have diabetes. 


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