NYM’s Surgical Weight Reduction Program Provides Top Treatment for Diabetes

Apr 2, 2008

A group of doctors wearing white lab coatings looking at a document together

The link between type 2 diabetes and obesity is a prevalent public health problem that is impacting millions of Americans today. Obese individuals-people who weigh 20 percent or more than their ideal body weights-face a high risk for developing type 2 diabetes; more than 85 percent of people who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are overweight. According to the American Diabetes Association, 20.6 million adults in America have diabetes, with type 2 diabetes accounting for 90 to 95 percent of all cases. Recent research has demonstrated that surgical weight reduction, also called bariatric surgery, is more effective at completely reversing the signs of type 2 diabetes in obese people than traditional medical therapy. Bariatric surgery is performed to induce appetite control, weight loss and long-term dietary modification. "While traditional weight loss programs frequently don't work for obese patients, bariatric surgery enables them to attain significant and sustained weight loss, said Piotr Gorecki, M.D, director of the Surgical Weight Reduction Program at NYM. This considerable, long-term weight loss leads to improved blood sugar control, which helps lower high blood sugar levels that are linked with type 2 diabetes. "Elevated blood sugar levels can cause cardiac disease, heart attacks, strokes, and other serious medical problems, said Dr. Gorecki.

In addition to effectively treating obese individuals who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, bariatric surgery can preclude the development of type 2 diabetes in people who are pre-diabetic, those with blood sugar levels that are higher than average but are not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, 54 million adults in the United States have pre-diabetes. Being pre-diabetic greatly increases an individual's risk for developing diabetes.

While the best outcomes are anticipated in patients who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within the last two years, bariatric surgery can also improve blood sugar control in individuals who have had the disease for longer. "Type 2 diabetes is a severe, chronic disease that impacts people every day of their lives, said Dr. Gorecki. "Being able to completely resolve or even improve the symptoms of diabetes has not only enhanced our patients' health, but also their quality of life."

New York Methodist Hospital's Surgical Weight Reduction Program is one of only a few in New York State that is designated a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence by the American Society of Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery. Candidates for bariatric surgery must meet specific criteria based on their weight and body mass index and receive an intense multidisciplinary medical evaluation. For more information regarding the Surgical Weight Reduction Program at New York Methodist Hospital, please call 718-780-5293.