Gastric bypass surgery touted to treat diabetes
Two medical studies released earlier this week indicate that gastric bypass surgery can be used to reverse the effect of diabetes.
The studies, one of which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the other presented at an American College of Cardiology conference in Chicago, show that the stomach-shrinking surgery greatly reduces the effects of diabetes — even eliminating it in some patients.
According to the state Health Department, more than 850,000 Pennsylvanians have diabetes. The disease is directly or indirectly responsible for about 200 deaths of every 100,000 statewide.
Dr. LeeAnn Peluso, a bariatric surgeon at UPMC St. Margaret hospital in Aspinwall and the medical director at Pittsburgh Bariatrics, said the study reinforces what she and other bariatric specialists have known for years.
"Gastric bypass is by far the best procedure we have to turn around diabetes," she said. "After the surgery, people on insulin take a lower doses; people that use pills to control their diabetes don't have to take them anymore."
Peluso said she recently performed the surgery on a woman who was taking 90 milligrams of insulin a day. Two days later, the woman's insulin dosage was lowered to 10 milligrams.
While the surgery causes patients to lose a drastic amount of weight, Peluso said that's not why the diabetes starts to retreat.
"It's something in the way a person's hormones change," Peluso said. "We have seen this for a long time, but we don't really understand what it is that allows patients to improve."
Peluso said the surgery can help people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is caused by a virus or an autoimmune disorder; Type 2 is mainly because by obesity.
"Type 2 literally is melted away by the procedure," she said. "People with Type 1 see improvements, but not as drastic."
According to Peluso, the earlier someone has the surgery after being diagnosed with diabetes the quicker the positive results.
"The best results are when you haven't had diabetes for a long time," she said. "If you've had it for over a decade, it can take longer for the results to happen.Additional Information:
Do you qualify?
Experts say having gastric bypass surgery can greatly reduce diabetes in patients, but Dr. LeeAnn Peluso, a bariatric surgeon at UPMC St. Margaret hospital says that patients must meet these requirements:
• Usually a person with a Body Mass Index (BMI • weight in kilograms divided by height in meters) under 35 does not qualify for the surgery.
• A person with a BMI of between 35 and 39 is eligible for the surgery if they have: diabetes or pre-diabetes, sleep apnea or hypertension
• Any person with a BMI over 40 qualifies for gastric bypass surgery
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.