published Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Ask a doctor: Is that true that some don't need high blood pressure, diabetes medications after weight loss surgery?

Dr. Chris Sanborn

Q: “I’ve heard some people no longer need medications for high blood pressure and diabetes after having weight loss surgery. Is that true?”

A: Yes, it’s true for many patients who undergo weight-loss surgery (now known as bariatric or metabolic surgery). That’s because surgeries that treat obesity also improve many obesity-related diseases or conditions. High blood pressure and type 2 diabetes are two great examples, but the list is long and includes many other diseases such as esophageal reflux, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, heart disease and joint pains, to name a few. Metabolic surgeries such as gastric bypass and the gastric sleeve are now known to have direct effects on metabolic diseases such as diabetes by changing the body’s hormone response to meals. Of course, the chances of improvement or remission of obesity-related diseases are higher the earlier treatment is sought and when the diseases are less severe. The results of metabolic and bariatric surgery are typically good, but outcomes do vary, so realistic expectations need to be considered.

— Dr. Chris Sanborn, bariatric surgeon, Erlanger Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Center, member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society

Readers: To submit a question for medical doctors, email it to Clint Cooper at See this space each week for answers.

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