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Ask the Expert: How does weight-loss surgery help with diabetes?

Ask the Expert: How does weight-loss surgery help with diabetes? (WKRC)

FLORENCE, Ky. (WKRC) - Should you have weight-loss surgery to help control your diabetes? That's the question many are now asking.

Bariatric surgeons at St. Elizabeth Healthcare say that there's a lot of evidence that for those with diabetes having weight-loss surgery sooner rather than later could help prevent future complications.

“It had really gotten out of control, was over three hundred pounds… was diabetic,” said Fred Calvert, a patient.

Within a few years of weight loss surgery, which alters the stomach and results in a smaller storage capacity for the stomach, Calvert is down 116 pounds.

He also is among the eight out of ten people who have the surgery with diabetes.

“Within a year, [they] are either off their medication completely, in remission, or at the very least, markedly improved,” said Dr. Ryan Moon.

“Diabetes is gone… and doing well,” said Calvert.

Calvert's very careful to point out that the surgery is not a magic fix and that he's worked hard along the way, and had a great team to support him.

It appears the surgery doesn't just alter weight but also makes your tissues more sensitized to insulin. So those with diabetes should have different criteria to qualify for it.

There's been a lot of chatter recently about the use of surgery as an adjunct to treating diabetes and even the non-surgeons are starting to speak this way. Ten years ago, they would never have uttered a word about it.

If you have diabetes and want to find out if you qualify for a surgery like the one Calvert had, you can call 859-212-GOAL (859-212-4625).

In most cases, the surgery is covered by medical insurance plans.

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