How Two Women With Type 2 Diabetes Fared After Weight-Loss Surgery

Lisa Corbeil was able to stop taking metformin and insulin after losing weight.
Janice Rowe focused on three factors to get her blood sugar under control—portion sizes, exercise, and medication.
If you are extremely obese and have type 2 diabetes, weight-loss surgery may help you shed weight and reduce, or even reverse, type 2 diabetes. However, some patients see little or no improvement in their diabetes after surgery.

In the 2004 review of more than 130 studies, a University of Minnesota researcher and colleagues found that bariatric (weight loss) surgery caused obese people to lose 40.7% to 73.9% of their excess weight (depending on the procedure).

In patients who had type 2 diabetes, the diabetes was reversed completely in 77% of patients and reversed or improved in 86%.

However, the risks of such procedures are not insignificant (including a small risk of death), so it's important to discuss the risks and benefits and with your health-care provider before making such a life-altering decision.

And it's important to have presurgical counseling to explore the psychological reasons behind overeating; you have to change lifelong bad eating habits too.

Lisa Corbeil's story
When Lisa Corbeil had blood work in 2004 confirming type 2 diabetes, she had a "total meltdown" in her doctor's office. "I say that I went though all the stages of grief in about 20 minutes in her office," says Corbeil, an accounting professional in Philadelphia whose brother died of type 1 in 1995 at age 41. "Of all the things out there that I didn't want to get, it was this disease."

She underwent gastric bypass surgery in 2006 and dropped 155 pounds. The 47-year-old no longer has diabetes. "I have a life back. And I feel healthier now than when I was a thin 20-year-old," she says. "I'm kicking diabetes's ass."

However, her doctor still checks her hemoglobin A1C levels and Corbeil is careful about her exercise and food choices because she knows her diabetes could return.

"I always carry some protein bars and keep some protein drinks around just in case," she says. She no longer takes insulin or metformin. "It's just wonderful," she says.

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Last Updated: May 21, 2008

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