Weight Management for Type 2 Diabetes Patients: How to Gain Control

Weight Management for Type 2 Diabetes Patients: How to Gain Control

Did you know that the CDC estimates 1 out of every 3 Americans has either been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or is considered at high risk for developing the disease? And this number is rising!

What is the cause of so many cases of diabetes? And what can you do to prevent or delay developing type 2 diabetes which can include complications such as:

  • Heart attacks
  • Stroke
  • Loss of vision
  • Numbness
  • Kidney failure
  • Loss of limbs (toe, foot, leg, etc.)

How Does Type 2 Diabetes Develop?

Your pancreas should produce enough insulin to counter normal amounts of blood sugar. If your blood sugar is regularly high, your pancreas can’t produce enough insulin or your body develops a tolerance to insulin so that it’s not effective. And in some cases, the body stops producing insulin altogether.

This condition doesn't occur overnight. One sign that you might be at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes is being overweight.

Eating Too Much Sugar is Easier Than You Might Realize

The body is healthiest when you eat a balanced diet. This means removing the obvious places that sugar is found in foods such as sodas and desserts. But many people feel that they’re eating foods that are considered “good for them” but can’t maintain their blood sugar in a normal range. That may be because they’re eating too many carbohydrates.

Carbs, as carbohydrates are referred to, turn into sugar after you eat them to give you energy. While you need some carbs, too many will raise your blood sugar. Consistently high blood sugar can lead to type 2 diabetes.

High-carb foods that seem healthy include

  • breads and pasta (including whole wheat)
  • cereals
  • starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn
  • too much fruit – especially dried fruits
  • juice (even if it says no sugar added)
  • salad dressings and ketchup
  • pasta sauces
  • beer and wine

Because of this, your blood sugar may be higher than you realize. Pay careful attention to which foods are high in carbs, how much you’re eating of them, and how much you eat other healthy foods like lean proteins and green vegetables.

Weight Management for Reversing or Avoiding Diabetes

Weight management for those with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes is critical. For those already diagnosed, it can often reverse the body’s need for more insulin which means fewer or no medications and less likelihood of developing the other conditions caused by diabetes. For those with prediabetes, you can avoid or delay developing diabetes by keeping your weight in control.

The major warning here is that change is possible, but you can’t wait too long. You need to:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet. This should be pretty much all the time.
  • Be active at least 150 minutes per week. This includes walking, biking, dancing, or doing other physical activity that keeps your heart rate up for at least 20 minutes.
  • Talk to your doctor about a plan that could work for you – especially if you’ve tried to lose weight before without success.

If you’re really working at weight loss but can’t get results, weight loss surgery may be an option, especially if you are considered obese.

Weight Loss Surgery Options for Diabetes Patients

Weight loss surgery can be a permanent change to your body. There are other options that can be reversed in the future. No matter which type of weight loss surgery you choose you must also have a serious commitment to changing your lifestyle. Losing significant weight can definitely help you reverse or avoid diabetes, but the weight has to stay off for the long-term results.

In a 2010 study published by the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, 75% of obese patients with type 2 diabetes that had weight loss surgery, also called bariatric surgery, went into remission following the procedure (i.e. - no longer had diabetes or had to take medications for diabetes). There was a higher success rate seen for those who had the gastric stapling procedure (gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy) compared to the adjustable gastric band. Many other studies have shown similar or better results.

Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass

Considered the gold standard of weight loss surgery options, patients lose a lot of weight because the size of the stomach is reduced and the first part of your intestine is bypassed. This means you can’t eat as much at once and less fat is absorbed. Read more about gastric bypass surgery.

Adjustable Bands

An adjustable band is a surgery that puts a silicone band at the top of the stomach. The small pouch that remains reduces the amount of food you can eat at once. The band can be adjusted in the future. The amount of weight typically lost with this procedure is between 45 and 55% of your excess weight compared to 70-80% of excess weight with gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery. Learn more about adjustable bands.

Sleeve Gastrectomy

By far the most popular weight loss operation currently. Patients lose weight because the size of the stomach is permanently reduced. This means you can’t eat as much at once and some of the GI hormones are altered. Read more about sleeve gastrectomy surgery.

Choosing the Right Weight Loss Surgery

There are a number of factors to consider when it comes to weight loss surgery, especially as a diabetes patient who may have other complications. It’s best to set an appointment with a bariatric surgeon, like Dr. Howard, to get a consultation. He will talk to you about your specific situation including medical history and your health and weight loss goals.

Be as honest as you can with the surgeon so that you can get the surgery recommendation that is most likely to work for you. And remember, it’s not always the answer and the surgeon can tell you that as well.

Dr. Howard has seen first-hand just how difficult it can be to manage diabetes without weight loss, especially if people wait too long to address the problem. It's why he takes the time with each patient to find the best solution. When traditional diet and exercise plans simply aren't giving you the results you need, consider requesting a consultation with Dr. Howard in The Woodlands.

Categories: Weight Loss

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