How does weight loss surgery help people with metabolic syndrome?

For years, doctors have observed that weight loss surgery resolves diabetes in over 80% of obese people with diabetes. Blood sugar levels improve dramatically almost immediately after gastric bypass surgery, and far before any significant weight loss occurs. Studies have found that when people lose the same amount of weight through diet as through surgery, those who had surgery experienced significantly better improvement in their diabetes than those who lost weight non-surgically. This indicates that the surgery itself -- not just losing weight -- is responsible for the metabolic shifts in the body.

This metabolic effect is significant for any person who is obese and is particularly compelling for those with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is the combination of several medical problems associated with morbid obesity: high blood pressure, glucose intolerance/insulin resistance, excess body fat and high cholesterol.

 All  bariatric (weight loss) surgery procedures, including  gastric banding, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass  and sleeve gastrectomy improve diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The effects are most pronounced after gastric bypass surgery.

Doctors have studied the effects of metabolic surgery among people who have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 and above. Although we do not yet know what the underlying mechanisms are for this effect, we know that operating on people with these diseases causes a significant improvement in diabetes. We believe gut hormones play an integral role in this process and that a change in this milieu accounts for the results that are seen clinically.

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