Saturday, February 2, 2013

Cut It Out! Pushing Bariatric Surgery for Controlling Diabetes

Image source: stock.xchg

I read an article awhile back in our local paper which advocated bariatric surgery as a "cure" for Type 2 diabetes in morbidly obese patients.[1] The author cited a paper released in 2011 by the International Diabetes Federation co-written by "experts" in both diabetes and bariatric surgery.[2] Reading it sent chills running up and down my morbidly obese spine.

The very idea of surgically altering someone's innerds in order to make them skinny just makes my blood run cold anyway. But, when they start suggesting it as a first choice cure-all for a very delicate disease like diabetes, I really get scared.

Though I do not have diabetes, it runs in my family on both sides. I assisted my mother in caring for my grandmother and am now caring for my mother with the same condition. It is a possibility, but not a given, I may develop this disease myself at some point. So, I naturally sit up and pay attention when the "experts" in this field start pushing for drastic measures.

The Mayo Clinic has lists of potential risks associated with this surgical procedure, both during the surgery and afterward. During the bariatric surgery, you could have:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Infection
  • Adverse reactions to anesthesia
  • Blood clots
  • Lung or breathing problems
  • Leaks in your gastrointestinal system
  • Death (rare)
Longer term risks and complications of weight-loss surgery vary depending on the type of surgery but can include:
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Dumping syndrome, causing diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
  • Gallstones
  • Hernias
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Malnutrition
  • Stomach perforation
  • Ulcers
  • Vomiting
  • Death (rare)[3]
With these potentially deadly side effects of bariatric surgery, perhaps it would be safer to just have obese diabetes patients stop eating. That would help the blood sugar levels, right? You would get pretty much the same results. And, it makes about as much sense.

This is insane medicine!

Another thing that crossed my mind is whether this might be the first choice under America's new socialist medicine programs for treating obese patients who have or are at risk for developing diabetes. Now, that's a really scary thought.

Just something to think and pray about.

[1] "Bariatric weight-loss surgery should be treatment for diabetes, experts say," Grand Rapids Press, updated Friday, April 01, 2011 9:51 AM, http://www.mlive.com/health/index.ssf/2011/04/bariatric_weight-loss_surgery.html.


[2] "IDF releases position paper on bariatric surgery," International Diabetes Federation, accessed 10/01/2012, http://www.idf.org/news/idf-releases-position-paper-bariatric-surgery.

[3] "Gastric bypass surgery: Risks," Mayo Clinic, accessed 10/01/2012, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/gastric-bypass/my00825/dsection=risks.