Bariatric surgery is often advertised as a way for people to lose weight, but few people stop to think about the health benefits of the surgery. By losing weight it is possible for people to have fewer heart problems, vein and artery issues, and they also lower their chances of getting diabetes.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, bariatric surgery can lower an obese person’s chance of developing Type 2 diabetes. In this study, the researchers compared two groups of obese individuals who were at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Each group had over 1,600 participants. One group received bariatric surgery, while the second group did not. The group that had surgery had either stomach stapling, gastric banding, or gastric bypass. Nearly seventy percent of this group opted for stomach stapling or bariatric surgery.
Between 1987 and 2002, about thirty eight percent of people in the control group developed type 2 diabetes as opposed only thirteen percent in the surgery group. This led the researchers to state that bariatric surgery gave their patients an eighty percent reduction in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This seemed to hold true regardless of the starting BMI of the patient. In other words, every patient that opted for bariatric surgery had any equal chance of reducing their risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
It should be noted, however, that the study did not directly research the causes of this phenomenon. Based on other studies, though, there are several ideas as to why this surgery works. Immediately after the surgery, many patients report that they only feel hungry for small portions of food. One theory that has been suggested is that by limiting their calorie intake, these patients are also limiting their sugar intake. Reducing the amount of sugar that is consumed will reduce a person’s chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
Another hypothesis is that the weight loss that can result from bariatric surgery will reduce a person’s chance of developing diabetes. There have been several studies that have shown that obese people who are able to lose ten percent or more of their body weight are able to reduce their chances of getting type 2 diabetes. It is not known, however, if this reduction is due to the assumed decrease in calories and sugar that people losing weight are assumed to have, or if it is due to other causes, such as decreased stress on internal organs, including the pancreas.
No matter how it happens, it has been shown that bariatric surgery is a proven way to reduce a person’s chances of developing type 2 diabetes. While it is not a guaranteed way to prevent diabetes, it is one of the best ways to work towards preventing it.