Can Surgery Cure Your Diabetes?

If you're overweight or obese and suffer from diabetes, you may be looking into ways to manage your diabetes and also interested in weight loss. While some diets targeted to those with diabetes can also assist weight loss, these can be hard to maintain over time. However, there is one procedure that may be able to tackle your weight loss worries while also dramatically reducing your dependence on insulin -- all while requiring little in the way of lifestyle changes. Read on to learn more about duodenal switch surgery and how it may be able to help you.

What is duodenal switch surgery?

This surgery first emerged as an alternative to gastric bypass or lap band surgery to help treat obesity. One of the primary disadvantages to gastric bypass is the change in your body's ability to absorb vital nutrients from the foods you eat, as well as the complete restriction of certain foods (for instance, eating fatty foods after a gastric bypass frequently causes nausea and vomiting). This happens because the majority of the lower stomach and small intestine, responsible for food absorption, are bypassed and your food is sent straight to the lower small intestine after digestion.

In duodenal switch surgery, the stomach is also reduced in size but the small intestine is not bypassed -- instead, it is rerouted to allow food to be adequately absorbed while still minimizing the amount of time it spends in the small intestine. As a result, the appetite is restricted but you'll still be able to receive the vital nutrients from the food you eat. And because you won't have to eliminate certain food groups to avoid negative interactions with your duodenal switch surgery, you won't have to do much when it comes to changing your lifestyle.

Duodenal switch surgery has also been shown to be effective as a diabetes management tool. Because you're forced to eat smaller (but balanced) meals, you won't suffer the blood sugar spikes that can occur when you eat too many carbs or sugars at once. When combined with a healthy diet, this surgery can dramatically minimize your dependence on insulin.

Are you a qualified candidate for this surgery?

Duodenal switch surgery isn't for everyone -- if you suffer from other health complications (like sleep apnea or heart and circulatory issues), surgery may be dangerous until you've made some health changes. However, duodenal switch surgery has been shown to be effective for those with BMIs in the 30s up to 55 or greater.

If you'd like a way to manage your diabetes while also losing weight, speak to your doctor to determine whether this treatment is a good option for you or an alternative to gastric bypass or lap band surgery.