I can’t conclude the series on beating diabetes without talking about diabetic surgery. After all, diabetic surgery (sometimes called metabolic surgery) beats the cruel disease, thereby adding 15 to 20 years over just a single weekend. Even though this solutions has been around for decades, for reasons that I don’t quite understand, diabetic surgery is the best kept secret of the diabetes treatment industry!
The last blog post I wrote was on the 2nd of November “2014”, more than an year ago. It was on using exercise to beat back diabetes. I planned to add one more blog post to the series on beating diabetes to address diabetic surgery.
But then, from late December 2014, I started spending my time with my friends at Lifeline Hospitals, working on conceiving and implementing health care growth strategies. As part of this work, I work on building a brand for the diabeticsurgery.com solutions offered by them. Though I am going to remain objective and truthful, you should know that I have a conflict of interest here.
Diabetic Surgery (or Metabolic Surgery)
Re-configuring the digestive tract seem to send diabetes into remission in at least in 85% of the cases. If the patient is younger, or has been diabetic for lesser number of years, the changes of remission is very close to 100%.
This is the only fail-proof and scientifically proven way to send diabetes in to complete remission. As against diabetic surgery,
- Very low calorie diet will require life long maintenance of calorie restriction, combined with regular and rigorous exercise. Even then, the insulin resistance will continue to progress, albeit in a much slower pace.
- Ketogenic diet, again, is to be a lifelong commitment. It won’t work if it is not combined with regular and rigorous exercise. Plus, no one really knows the effect of long term carbohydrate elimination.
- Except in mild cases of pre-diabetes, exercise alone won’t normalize the insulin resistance. it needs to be combined with one of the two diets I had mentioned above.
But diabetic surgery takes the patient back to the days before they became diabetic. What it means is that post surgery, the patient needs to live a somewhat disciplined life. Else, they will end up becoming diabetic after several years. But there are several recorded cases of people living diabetic free for more than 30 years.
How does diabetic surgery (or metabolic surgery) work?
I’ve heart all kind of explanation as to why reconfiguration of the digestive tract makes one insulin resistance. Only thing that makes sense is that change in the digestive tract changes the enrocrinological profile in the body, thereby reversing the insulin resistance. But what are these exact changes are still not understood.
It is interesting how insulin resistance now appears to be a disease of the gut!
Diabetic Surgery (or metabolic surgery) works by reversing the insulin resistance. Pancreas of the patients undergoing this procedure must still retain its ability to produce healthy amount of insulin. Else, even after reversing insulin, the body won’t be producing sufficient quantity of insulin to clear the blood sugar form the blood stream and the diabetes will continue.
So, success of diabetic surgery depends on the body’s insulin reserves. If the body has good insulin reserves, the changes of reversing the diabetes is pretty good. Patients usually lose their diabetes within a matter of few weeks. Patients with muted insulin reserve may take a few months.
The surgery typically takes about an hour on the table. And a couple of days of hospital stay.
I am one of those people with inadequate insulin reserve and I am unlikely to become non-diabetic after the surgery. Till such time some new medical breakthrough comes along, I will have to contend with the combination of ketogenic diet and regular exercise to keep the diabetes under control. In the year and a half that I had been on this combination, my HbA1c has always hovered around 5.4. I sincerely hope that it is helping me to delay the diabetic complications.