For many people, weight loss surgery is the final step in taking back control of their lives. Excess weight and obesity are linked to a number of co-morbidities including Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnoea and more. Long-term consequences of these are life-threatening if not controlled. Thankfully, significant weight loss can improve blood glucose levels, cholesterol and blood pressure, however, can it cure diabetes?
A large number of people that come for bariatric surgery are on a cocktail of medications and come with a goal to ideally decrease the amount taken daily. Studies have shown that after weight loss surgery, blood glucose can return to normal for 75% of people in a matter of weeks. This is due to the effect of weight loss on improving insulin sensitivity (the uptake of glucose from the blood into cells). This quickly results in reducing or even ceasing all medications.
Despite this, unfortunately, there is no known cure for diabetes. It is a lifelong disease that requires continued monitoring with health professionals. However, a term used to describe a state in which all signs and symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes disappears is often referred to as ‘remission’.
So long story short – can weight loss surgery cure your diabetes? No. But can it assist in controlling your blood glucose levels, improving quality of life, and reducing daily medications? Absolutely.