New Study Confirms Best Bet for Diabetes


CLEVELAND, Ohio (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Diabetes can be deadly. Each year, more than 70,000 Americans die from complications of the disease. About half of all people with type 2 diabetes don’t have their condition under control. Now, new research shows a well-known procedure for weight loss may be the best bet for patients with uncontrolled diabetes.

This was the old Lisa Shaffer. At her heaviest: almost 300 pounds!

“When I was obese, my life was so limited,” Shaffer told Ivanhoe.

Her health suffered, too. Lisa had type 2 diabetes, and she tried everything to control it.

Shaffer explained, “Nothing worked, nope.”

But today Lisa is 120 pounds lighter and her diabetes is gone. The reason; gastric bypass surgery.

“It’s been incredible. Yeah. It really did give me my life back.” Shaffer exclaimed.

Phillip Schauer, MD, Director of the Cleveland Clinic Bariatric and Metabolic Institute in Cleveland, Ohio, led a study that compared bariatric surgery, either gastric bypass or gastric sleeve, to intense medical therapy in people with diabetes. After five years, the gastric bypass patients did the best. Many were in complete remission without drugs or insulin.

“Which is pretty remarkable. That’s about as close to a cure that you can get,” Dr. Schauer explained.

Twenty-nine percent of gastric bypass and 23 percent of gastric sleeve patients achieved and maintained normal blood sugar levels -compared to just 5 percent of medication-only patients. The surgery groups also lost more weight and reported a better quality of life.

“All in all, the patients who had surgery did better and were happier at the five- year mark,” Dr. Schauer stated.

Three days after her surgery, Lisa was off all of her meds. Her A1c, a measure of blood sugar control, was 10.5 before the surgery and today, it’s 5.3. Now she’s able to live the life she’s always wanted.

“Ever since I lost the weight, I’ve run three 5ks. I’ve done zip lining with the family, which is fantastic. Just no limits anymore, there’s no limitations on my life anymore.” Shaffer stated.

Doctor Schauer says weight loss is one reason diabetes patients benefit from bariatric surgery. The other is something that happens in the body as a result of the surgery. When the intestines are bypassed, special hormones increase, which helps the pancreas produce insulin more effectively.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Julie Marks, Field Producer; Gabriella Battistiol, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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REPORT:       MB #4269

BACKGROUND: The causes of type 2 diabetes are usually initiated by a combination of DNA, high blood glucose, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. In addition, being overweight or obese can lead to insulin resistance. This is especially true in cases where most of a patient’s weight is mainly distributed around the middle of the body. In fact, type two diabetes can now affect children and teens as well; this is because of childhood obesity. High blood sugar may cause complications and can even result in permanent damage to the kidneys, eyes, nerves, healing of the wound, heart and blood vessels, and pregnancy.

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STANDARD TREATMENT:  It is suggested for those who have diabetes and are overweight to start exercising. Exercise allows one to bind or uptake insulin more efficiently. The more active a person is the more insulin will be produced. On the other hand, the less active someone is the lower the amount of insulin the body is able to produce. In addition to exercise a healthy diet is also extremely important to maintain. One should become aware of their habits and regulate how much and what they eat. Some experts suggest the Mediterranean diet; this includes the use of healthy fats and oils while cutting back on carbohydrates. A healthy diet for diabetic patients is one that consists of vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins (such as fish or beans), fresh fruit, and also healthy fats like avocadoes, olives, nuts and seeds.


NEW TECHNOLOGY:  Bariatric surgery can allow for some people’s blood sugar levels to get back to normal. This in turn may result in curing their diabetes, or at the very least leading to a patient taking less medication. A long term study showed that six years after bariatric surgery, 62 percent of the 400 patients in the study reported no signs of diabetes. Good candidates for this type of surgery are those with a BMI of 35 or higher, and those with little to no success at losing weight. There are five types of bariatric surgery that are gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, biliopancreatic diversion, an electric implant device, and an adjustable gastric band. However, the gastric bypass surgery (Roux-en-Y) has up to 80 percent of people showing no signs of diabetes after surgery. For this procedure the surgeon makes a small stomach pouch by splitting the top of the stomach from the rest. Therefore, the food goes into the small stomach pouch making the patient fuller faster, and absorbing fewer calories. However, one risk may include less absorption of vitamins and nutrients and may lead to health problems. After the surgery, it is important to still stick to a diet and exercise plan to keep the weight off.

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Lisa Ludrosky


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Doctor Q and A

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