Saturday, December 20, 2008

Weight loss surgery may cure form of diabetes

Tampa, FL
Gastric bypass surgery helps thousands lose weight, but it may also be a cure for Type Two Diabetes. The drastic weight-loss approach means some diabetics never need insulin again.

Cheryl Bishop's weight has been a life-long battle. “I was always the chunky kid and it just got progressively worse and worse and worse until it was out of control," she said. At 44, she weighed 350 pounds and struggled with Type-Two Diabetes. “It was horrible. It got to the point where I knew I had to have the surgery or I wasn't going to live."

Cheryl had bariatric surgery. Surgeons sectioned off a small pouch of her stomach and attached it to her intestine. The goal is weight loss, but surgeons like Doctor Michel Murr, of Tampa General Hospital, discovered another dramatic effect: Cheryl's Type Two Diabetes disappeared. He says, “There's a function of the stomach that we don't understand very well, but as soon as we divert food away from it, the diabetics control their blood sugar much, much easier."

Studies show up to 90-percent of diabetics go into remission after bariatric surgery. Cheryl says, “I went from taking 100 units of insulin three times a day with blood sugar still 200, 300 plus. Within a week after surgery, probably none."

Right now, bariatric surgery is only for the extremely obese, but doctors believe it could be the key to reversing Type Two Diabetes, regardless of a person's weight.

Doctor Murr says, “We may be looking into this as one of the treatments for diabetics."

One-hundred-thirty pounds lighter, Cheryl's enjoying her new life, one that's healthier and diabetes free. She says, "It's gone. The diabetes is gone."

Almost 18 million Americans are diagnosed with Type Two Diabetes and roughly six million others have it, but don't know. Researchers in Brazil are studying whether bariatric surgery is safe and effective for type two diabetics who are not severely overweight.


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