Can Weight Loss Surgery Help Prevent Diabetes?

Karl Strom, M.D., FACS
Medical Director, Bariatric Program
Southern Ocean Medical Center

Diabetes is a growing concern among American adults. According to the American Diabetes Association, roughly 9.3% of the US adult population - about 26 million people - have diabetes, and another 86 million adults have pre-diabetes.

With a healthy diet and regular exercise, diabetes is often preventable, but what happens if these aren’t enough?

Karl Strom, M.D., FACS, is the medical director of the bariatric program at Southern Ocean Medical Center and Bayshore Community Hospital and specializes in bariatric procedures that include gastric band, gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, and revisional bariatric surgery.

According to Strom, obesity is one of the biggest risk factors for diabetes.

Prior to bariatric surgery, about 60% of patients are at risk for diabetes. In an analysis from 2004, patients who had bariatric surgery saw a complete resolution, or improvement, of co-morbid conditions such as diabetes.  83.7% of type 2 diabetes cases were resolved, and this resolution often occurred within days after the surgery took place.

There is a lot to consider before deciding to undergo weight loss surgery, but if you are severely overweight and have been unsuccessful trying to lose weight on your own, a bariatric procedure might be the right option for you, Strom says.

Exercising, attending follow-up appointments, and keeping up with your weight loss program are important to maintaining a healthy weight after surgery and keeping the risk of diabetes at bay, he adds.