Written By: Emma Squillace
November has been designated as National Diabetes month. Why is there an entire month dedicated to awareness of this disease? Because Diabetes puts a tremendous burden on the health of millions of people. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 30 million people in the USA have diabetes, even though 25% of them do not know about it yet. Additionally, a third of the United State’s population has pre-diabetes. This is a critical disease for bariatric surgeons because bariatric surgery is one of the best ways to treat or prevent this diabetes.
Risk of Diabetes
Having type 2 diabetes is more than having to watch what you eat or taking insulin. It means living with substantially more risk to your health. Type 2 diabetes is the primary cause of kidney failure, as well as adult blindness and amputation of the lower limbs. Tens of thousands of adults have a foot or lower leg amputated each year because of type 2 diabetes. In addition, people with type 2 diabetes have double the medical costs of people without diabetes, in general. Finally, type 2 diabetes can double your risk of having a stroke or heart disease: leading causes of death in the United States.
How to Avoid Getting Type 2 Diabetes
As with all diseases, the ability to prevent type 2 diabetes is the ideal scenario. If we can lower the number of people who get this disease, we can save many lives and improve the quality of life for many others. While there is no way to guarantee you will not get type 2 diabetes, there are some lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk:
- Maintain a healthy weight. The vast majority of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. Losing even a small amount of weight can help to lower your risk of developing diabetes, but losing a significant amount of weight can help even more.
- Keep active. You do not need to do strenuous activity to see benefit. Going for brisk walks or riding a bike around your neighborhood can help reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Eat healthy foods. There’s no reason to pressure yourself to stick to a ‘perfect’ diet, but eating lean proteins, whole grains, and plenty of fresh fruit and veggies is a solid step towards lowering your type 2 diabetes risk.
There are other risk factors for type 2 diabetes that you cannot control. These include your age, genetics, and family history of the disease. While there is nothing you can do to counteract all your risk factors for this disease, taking steps to maintain a healthy weight and stay active, will benefit you.
If you have obesity, you may not be able to lose enough weight with diet and exercise alone. Many people who are obese also find that even when they do lose weight, they tend to gain it back again. This is because your body can fight against your weight loss efforts, lowering your metabolism and causing you to hold onto fat and calories. There is no shame in asking for professional help to lose weight. Thousands of people have lost weight with West Medical’s treatment options like the gastric sleeve or gastric bypass. Many of these people have also found that they are able to lower or stop taking their insulin because of the success they’ve found through bariatric surgery.
Bariatric surgery has been found to treat diabetes so effectively, that it is sometimes referred to as diabetes surgery. Both the gastric sleeve and gastric bypass allow for significant changes in the body. Some of our patients are even able to stop their diabetes medication within days of their surgery – long before they’ve lost a substantial amount of weight. To learn more about why bariatric surgery may be a good option for people with diabetes, or those who want to prevent the disease before they have it – call us at (855) 690-0565.