by Lindsay Jackson
day, millions of Americans, including hundreds right here in
Chattanooga, deal with diabetes. Type 2 affects people who are obese, so
monitoring their blood sugar and taking insulin shots are part of their
daily routine. But there is some good news: a new study finds that a
common surgery may help patients overcome the disease.
we spoke with today say they've known gastric bypass and gastric banding
helped type 2 diabetes for years. But, they say this is the first study
where doctors put the surgery head to head with common medicines.
A few years ago, Gayla Crosby was overweight and a type 2 diabetic. But, in November 2010 she had gastric bypass surgery.
goal was to get healthier, to be there for my kids and that was my
goal. So that has far exceeded everything I wanted it to do," Crosby
She's lost 200 pounds and is no longer diabetic.
I had the surgery I was taking medications. I was also taking a shot to
help manage my sugar. And I was doing that twice a day too. So this had
freed my from that," she said.
Her doctor, Chris Sanborn says Crosby's story is not uncommon.
very common for me to do an operation such a a gastric bypass on a
diabetic patient and be able to send them home on no medications at
all," said Sanborn.
Sanborn says overcoming diabetes is just one of the reasons his patients ask for the surgery.
of course with obesity, it's not just diabetes. It's osteoarthritis.
It's hypertension. They've got high cholestral. They've got a lot of
differnet problems. So they're trying to target all those different
problems by focusing on one thing that's making those things worse and
that's obesity," he said.
The study linking weight-loss surgery
to diabetic remissions is new to the public, but it's not new to doctors
like Sanborn, and Dr. Jack Rutledge.
"It's no surprise to us in the bariatric world. We've thought this existed since that the mid 90's," Rutledge said.
Rutledge says the operation works better than medicines in treating
diabetes. He says that's because when the intestines are rearranged-
hormones and endocrin modulation are positively affected. While the
surgery is effective, it's not the only answer.
effort, quite honestly, is not going to be that we operate on 8% of the
global population. But that through study of these operations, we'll
learn how to manage diabetes more effectively without an operation," he
Dr. Rutledge does say that right now, the best therapy on
the planet for type 2 diabetes and obesity is gastric bypass. Both
doctors we spoke with are very careful not to call this a cure, as some
articles suggest. They say, instead, it's a way to remission.