Monday, April 21, 2008

Surgical "Cure" for Diabetes

So, one of my patients today asked me about a surgical cure for diabetes. The only things I ever heard about were experimental procedures with the islet cells of the pancreas or something along those lines. But, then, the patient said something about gastric bypass surgery. I was mildly intrigued.

This person said that they they saw a report on 60 minutes. "Oh great," I thought to myself. So, I checked out the website over there and there is not one but about four videos over there talking about this. You're going to love this. The titles of the reports are the following: The ABCs of gastric bypass surgery; Diabetes cure?; Immediate relief; and Here's the hitch.

So, if for anything else, to get me up to speed with what my patients are watching, these reports claim a "cure" for diabetes - meaning to them that their patients leave the hospital following their surgery without any diabetes meds. And, one of the final reports says that it's a shame that more people (meaning non-obese people) do not qualify for this surgery. No wonder a lot of people asked me about this surgery today at the office.

Now, I know that I may get beat up by some people out there, but this situation is so much a reflection of our society today. People are looking for the quick fix and then everything will be better. "All I need is this surgery and then I can start living my life again," people think to themselves.

It's so interesting how people think. I can't give away flu shots or pneumonia vaccines because "they cause the flu" or "I get a rash from it." For gastric bypass surgery, just reading from the webmd website, has risks for blood clots and infection. And, something called "dumping syndrome" which goes something like this.
Another risk of gastric bypass is dumping syndrome, in which food is "dumped" from the stomach into the intestines too quickly, before it's been properly digested. About 85% of people who get a gastric bypass have some dumping. Symptoms include nausea, bloating, pain, sweating, weakness, and diarrhea. Dumping is often triggered by sugary or high-carbohydrate foods, and adjusting the diet helps. However, some experts actually see dumping syndrome as beneficial, in that it encourages people to avoid foods that could lead to weight gain.
But, the same people who won't take this pill or that pill because of the 10 page side effect list they received at the pharmacy - these same people - would like to be considered for gastric bypass surgery. Can someone explain this to me? I'm confused....


Bongi said...

type II, yes, but only in about 80% of cases.

of course there is no cure for type I

SuperStenoGirl said...

I have a friend who was morbidly obese (400 pounds if not more). She had several medical conditions, least of which being type 2 diabetes. Her doctors basically told her without GB, she would probably die.

She went in to the operating room a diabetic, and was rolled out a nondiabetic.

8 months later she's dropped over 100 pounds and still has no diabetes.

But, she's type 2. And she's a special case in that she was almost staring Death in the face.

My mother is type 2 and yes she's overweight ("morbidly" by the medical community, but then, so am I), but I don't think I'd suggest she look into GB as a solution.

It definitely shouldn't be used for people who think about it lightly.