All of us like to hear good news about gains in defeating illnesses. So it is encouraging that recent research suggests weight-loss surgery can reverse and "possibly cure" the very troubling problems associated with diabetes.
There are two types of diabetes.
Type 1 is a disorder of the human immune system that makes it difficult for the body to produce insulin, which is needed to convert sugar from food into nutrients for cells. Excess sugar builds up in the blood and may cause damage to organs and premature death.
Type 2 diabetes, a more common form of the disease, represents about 90 to 95 percent of America's nearly 26 million diabetics. With Type 2, the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin or the body doesn't use that insulin adequately.
But there's good news!
Recent research published online by the New England Journal of Medicine indicates bariatric, or weight-loss, surgery can reverse diabetes. One study showed most surgery patients could stop taking drugs for diabetes and yet have their problem remain in remission at least two years. The surgery, whether gastric bypass or stomach banding, is expensive, but Medicare may cover it under certain circumstances.
"It's a major advance," Dr. John Buse of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill told The Associated Press.
The option surely is something about which some prospective patients will inquire.