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Overcome Diabetes

Overcome Diabetes

If you’re interested in weight loss surgery, you may already know that it can help people who have significant amounts of weight to lose regain their lives. But you may not realize how much improvement you may see in other aspects of your health.

“Once exclusively regarded as a weight loss procedure, there’s a lot of evidence that bariatric surgery is an effective treatment for Type 2 diabetes,” said Mary Kate Hanisee, MD, FACS, FASMCS, metabolic and bariatric surgery director at Archbold’s South Georgia Surgical Associates. “Over the years, it has helped minimize or completely rid patients of their dependence on diabetes medication.”

Considering that Type 2 diabetes can lead to complications such as heart disease, nerve damage, possible amputations and other serious complications, weight loss surgery could offer you a path to a lifetime of better health.

A Big Health

Of the different types of bariatric surgery, gastric bypass is especially effective at helping those with diabetes. During this procedure, the surgeon sections off the top of the stomach. This small pouch holds approximately 2 ounces of food, or 5% of what a normal stomach holds. The surgeon then divides the small intestine into two sections. The upper section gets sealed off, and the lower portion is attached to the stomach pouch.

With this smaller stomach, you eat less and your body absorbs fewer calories. This combination leads to significant weight loss and helps regulate blood sugar levels.

Some, but not all, patients with Type 2 diabetes gain immediate control over their blood sugar levels. As a result, they reduce or stop diabetes medication before leaving the hospital.

For most bariatric surgery patients, however, diabetes improves within two years. One study found that 62% of people who were severely obese and had bariatric surgery overcame diabetes altogether within six years.

Additionally, research has found other perks for people with Type 2 diabetes. Following the procedure, they enjoy improved cardiovascular health. Their risk of heart attack gets but in half. They’re less likely to have high blood pressure. They’re better able to prevent kidney disease, nerve damage and retinal disease.

What to Expect

Candidates for bariatric surgery must have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, which means being more than 100 pounds overweight, or have a BMI of 35 or higher and co-morbidities. While bariatric surgery gives many people new hope, Dr. Hanisee warns against expecting too much too fast.

“Make no mistake about it,” she said. “Our patients do a lot of work before and after surgery.”

Success requires education and action. You have to develop a healthy relationship with food, understand how to take care of yourself and make significant lifestyle changes, including significantly changing your diet and getting regular physical activity. After surgery, exercise remains an important component of combating the effects of diabetes.

It’s important to remember that every person reacts differently to bariatric surgery. Some may find complete relief from diabetes, while others are able to better manage their condition by may continue to need medication. Regardless, Dr. Hanisee insists this safe procedure is the best option for improving Type 2 diabetes.

“Educate yourself,” Dr. Hanisee said. “Talk to your primary care doctor, find reputable resources online or reach out to our office to find out whether surgery could help you.”

Learn more about the power of bariatric surgery at To schedule an appointment to talk to Dr. Hanisee, contact South Georgia Surgical Associates at 229.226.8881. For more information, visit