Patient Story

Gastric Bypass Improves My Diabetes

By Sacred Heart Staff July 20, 2018

Is it possible to eliminate Type 2 diabetes with weight loss? That’s our question of the day for the Sacred Heart Surgical Weight Loss team.

According to the Obesity Society, research shows nearly 90 percent of adults with type 2 diabetes are overweight or have obesity. While your body makes insulin, it is unable to use the insulin to effectively break down glucose. Blood sugar levels spike or drop dangerously low. Your body essentially becomes insulin resistant.

In comparison, Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease that prevents the production of insulin. These patients may also struggle with obesity and weight loss. Both types of diabetes increase the risk of eye, kidney, and nerve damage if not managed correctly. Individuals with diabetes are also at a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

Bariatric weight loss procedures are helping many people with diabetes who struggle with obesity. Studies of gastric bypass patients with type 2 diabetes report that the insulin resistance may be reversed. Bypassing the stomach redirects nutrients and glucose so they are absorbed in the small intestine. The body’s response is an increased uptake of glucose. Losing weight improves generally many organ functions and lessens the strain on the heart, lungs and bones. Gastric bypass patients with type 1 diabetes often experience better diabetes symptom management. These patient stories describe how bariatric surgery with immersive weight loss education and support has improved their diabetes.

Barbara’s Story

Barbara Dunbar had gastric bypass surgery in September 2014. At that time, she was wearing size 26 clothing. At her three-year, post-surgery appointment, she was 126 pounds lighter and wearing size-4 clothing. Barbara is also a type 1 diabetic. Before her surgery, Barbara had been on an insulin pump for eight years. Now she is off the pump and takes insulin daily but in a reduced the amount.

Barbara enjoys bowling and fishing and can do those things and more because of her tremendous weight loss. Small daily tasks make her proud of what she has accomplished, like bending over and tying her shoes without sitting down or keep up with her grandkids. Since her surgery, Barbara has participated in two 5K walk-runs. Doing things with her family and traveling is now more enjoyable. Most importantly, she is a healthier diabetic and has the nutrition tools to help manage her diabetes.

Dr. Michelle’s Story

Michelle Grier-Hall, MD, is a pediatrician in Pensacola with two young children and has type 1 diabetes. Dr. Grier-Hall had gastric bypass surgery in May 2016. Within a year, she had lost 110 pounds and had gone from a size 22 to a 12. Now Dr. Grier-Hall can reduce her insulin intake by 75 percent and feels more in control over her diabetes.

Dr. Grier-Hall calls her weight loss surgery “a new beginning.” Now when she plays with her children or rides a bike, she is not short of breath. Dr. Grier-Hall says her surgery at the Sacred Heart Weight Loss Center has added years to her life.

Vickie’s Story

Vicki McCavitt’s gastric bypass surgery at the Sacred Heart Weight Loss Center was in January 2017. Within the year, Vicki had lost 62 pounds and had gone from size-22 to size-14 clothing. Before her surgery, Vicki experienced pain while walking and was on medication for high cholesterol and high blood pressure. She used an insulin pump to manage her type 2 diabetes. Vicki is now off the drugs and is no longer required to wear the insulin pump. She walks pain-free on the golf course and is part of a local walking club. Every month they participate in 5K walk-run. On leisurely walks with the dog, she now walks as fast or faster than her dog.   Vicki’s is far more apt to try new things and join in on activities because she is happier and healthier.

The Sacred Heart Weight Loss Center in Pensacola, Florida specializes in treating obesity, especially those chronic health conditions. The doctors have extensive surgical expertise with many types of bariatric procedures, including gastric bypass, gastric sleeve and revisional procedures. By creating an individualized plan for both before and after your weight loss surgery, our patients experience successful, sustainable weight loss and can begin again to live their life to the fullest. To learn more, call 850-416-7546 and visit Center for Surgical Weight Loss

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