Weight loss surgery should be used more often as a treatment for diabetes recommends new guidelines. The guidelines were published recently in the journal Diabetes Care, a publication of the American Diabetes Association.

The new recommendations for using weight loss surgery for diabetes were endorsed by 45 health groups including the American Diabetes Association and the International Diabetes Federation.

Weight loss surgery’s success in dramatically improving Type 2 diabetes has been recognized in the past. The presence of diabetes and other weight-related diseases is a factor in deciding whether bariatric surgery is medically necessary for an obese person. However, the new guidelines are the first time the surgery has been recommended specifically to treat diabetes.

How Were the Guidelines Developed?

The guidelines were drawn after researchers analyzed 11 studies of diabetic patients. The patients were randomly divided into two groups. One group had weight loss surgery and the other was treated with standard care. The researchers concluded that bariatric surgery should be a regular option for some diabetes patients. The guidelines place more emphasis on control of blood sugar than on the amount of weight lost.

Bariatric surgery succeeds more often than any other treatment in helping obese people lose and keep weight off. Surgery is generally considered only after an obese patient has tried repeatedly to lose excess weight. The surgery is seen as a treatment first for obesity with improvements in comorbidities a bonus.

The new research isn’t recommending surgery for as a first option for all diabetes patient. Treatment guidelines are now recommending surgery be considered more routinely for certain patients.

Why Are the Guidelines Changing?

Experts hope the new guidelines bring greater awareness to weight loss surgery’s effectiveness at controlling Type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes affects around 26 million Americans. Those who are overweight and obese have a higher risk of developing the disease that interferes with the body’s ability to convert food into energy.

Type 2 diabetes is controlled through diet, exercise, medication and insulin. Patients don’t always succeed with standard treatments. When diabetes isn’t managed, it leads to more serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and amputation.

Losing weight improves control of Type 2 diabetes, but bariatric surgery’s benefits go beyond lost pounds. Some types of bariatric surgery help control diabetes in other ways. For instance, both gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy affect how the body handles insulin and blood sugar. The guidelines don’t recommend a particular type of weight loss surgery.

Only you and your doctors can decide if bariatric surgery is the right course for you. Learn more about the surgeries performed at WeightWise by joining us at one of our online or in-person seminars.

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