Saturday, November 3, 2007

Bariatric surgery to be offered for thin diabetics (type 2)

I belong to a couple of diabetes lists, and get updates daily by email. One of the emails today was from a lady (type 2 diabetic) who went to a health fair. One of the booths was a bariatric surgeon who says this type of surgery will be offered to thin type 2 diabetics as a cure for their diabetes.
She didn't say what type of bariatric surgery (I replied to see if the surgeon had said), but I don't think it really matters. Any time you mess with a working digestive system (even if the pancreas itself isn't working), you are asking for more problems than you're going to cure. Not to mention the risk of death, all the complications you can end up with, etc, etc.
The first thought that entered my head when I read that email was "What, they aren't making enough money off fat people, so now they have to go after thin type 2 diabetics?" Second thought was "Ok, they aren't happy killing off fat people with this (after all, our fat is killing us anyway, so what difference does it make if we die of TEH FAT or from WLS?), so now they're going after diabetics (because we all know that diabetes is going to kill ya too, right?)."
WTF is wrong with these doctors? Who died and made them GOD? I am just so totally pissed by this.
link After searching, this is the only article I can find that references it, and their information about how many people die of obesity each year does not agree with the new numbers from the CDC, so I wouldn't take this advice with a grain of salt, I'd take it with the whole damned salt shaker full.


  1. There's just one word for this:


    Not only will it NOT cure diabetes, but even losing weight isn't a "cure."

    Back when I still lived in Illinois, I worked with a lady who had been bigger than I was (I'm a size 20, have been for most of my adult life) and had lost a TON of weight - she was probably a size 8 or 10 when I knew her. Not only did her diabetes NOT go away, it got WORSE. Giving someone like her WLS wouldn't do anything but screw up her digestive system.

    Now if they were suggesting something like pancreatic transplants, that at least would make SOME sense.

    THIS is just ridiculous.

  2. Big time bullshit is another of the things I thought when I read the email about it.

  3. I don't know where I read it (I'm pretty sure it was a fat blog though) but I did read that with some bariatric surgery, diabetes is cured. And it's not from losing weight, it's like the day after they have the surgery, bam - it's gone. It's something they are looking into.

    Now, yeah, that's interesting, but the idea that they are going to take this information and recommend this dangerous surgery to people with diabetes is ridiculous! Bariatric surgery with all it's risks and pain is a good solution? Yes, diabetes can be serious, but hello - butchering a healthy digestive system is serious! Idiots.

    Sigh. Follow the money trail alright.

  4. This article (not the post) saddens me. To give people with diabetes false hope is just beyound disgraceful.

    Yes, there are two different types of diabetes. NIDDM (Non insulin dependent diabetes mellitus) is generally caused from diet. Usually, if the food intake is adjusted, the blood sugar is adjusted. Even if you don't have WLS and you "just" (and I use tht word very loosely) lose weight, generally you will find that the majority of people who lose weight with NIDDM will have to, at the minimum, decrease their oral hypoglycemic agents.

    The second type of diabetes, IDDM, or Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, is due to the fact that the pancrease just DOES NOT WORK ANYMORE. No matter how you slice it, with weight loss, medication , etc, the only thing that will help a person with IDDM is ......guess what.......INSULIN. Yes there is sometimes a "honeymoon stage" for people with IDDM where the pancrease gives off bursts of insulin which may decrease the blood sugar, but ultimately the Pancrease dies and you are left with not a cure but medication to replace that which your body can no longer make. (OK, that was my pitch for Stem Cell Research) but that's a whole other story.

    Getting back to the WLS for NIDDM patients. There is research that would seem to show that WLS decreases NIDDM in most patients. The survey, however, is skewed. It's not the WLS....but the weight loss.

    Did that make a bit of sense? I hope so.

  5. Makes sense to me. DH saw a nutritionist at the VA this past week, and his A1c is 9.9, and that's after a weight loss of 6 lbs that he wasn't trying for. I don't know what his A1c was 3 months ago, his doc didn't tell him specifics, just that he needed to get it down and lose weight (she's of the calories in/calories out persuasion). So we're going to a low-carb way of eating (been doing this for about 3 weeks now), I'm thinking that might be why he lost the weight.

  6. I think this "cure" is discussed in Gina Kolata's Rethinking Thin (I think - might be some other book.) Supposedly the bits of your GI tract that they remove or disconnect for WLS include bits that deal with hormonal regulation, and that may be malfunctioning if someone has type 2 diabetes. But ya know, if I had type 2 diabetes, I'd rather take the risks of that (which are known and can be managed reasonably well in most cases) than the risks of gastric bypass (which are much more dire than the risks of T2D).

    My grandmother had a kind of stomach tumour that necessitated removal by what was, essentially, a gastric bypass. The side effects were pretty awful. *And* she stayed very fat until the tumour grew back, this time malignant. Even with the bypass and cancer, she stayed fat, for nearly 7 years, she only lost lots of weight about 3 months before she died. Her doctor reckoned her fat genes kept her going.

    Fat is never of benefit to the body? Yeah right.

  7. Whoops - forgot to add:

    While the bypass may seem to work for some with T2D, it's no guarantee either. Also, there are no long-term studies looking at those whose T2D was in a kind of remission, so we don't know if the diabetes will come back anyway. It's highly unethical to say the least!

  8. harpy - I totally agree with you. WLS might get rid of T2D temporarily, but we never hear if T2 diabetics who had WLS had their diabetes return. I think I would much rather deal with the possible risks of diabetes, since those can be handled with medication and food choices, rather than unproven effects of WLS (we already know what the complications of that are, and not worth it IMHO).

  9. I've been doing low carb, my A1c went from 12.3 to 5.5 in 4 months, fasting went from 341 to 112 in about 6 weeks. I started doing low carb because someone sent me here:
    I didn't expect to lose weight, dieting had always made me extremely hungry so I had sworn it off forever many years before. I have lost quite a bit of weight, though, but I'm still clinically 'obese.' The main thing is I feel so much better when I stick with it most of the time. Not 100%, I still eat sweets or starchy carbs occasionally. Not real often because I've actually had carb hangovers. I still have diabetes but I wouldn't have WLS even if it meant I could eat pizza and cupcakes all day long.

  10. nonegiven, my DH is type 2 and we are in the process of converting to a low-carb WOE. His last A1c was 9.9, so I'm waiting to see what it is at his visit in 3 months.


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