Weight Loss Surgery: Are You a Candidate?

After preparing for and undergoing the weight loss surgery procedure called Roux-en-Y, Carole Means, 48, lost almost 400 pounds. Carole also no longer needs to take medication to treat her type 2 diabetes. Diabetic Living's Summer 2013 issue featured Carole's weight loss journey and information about how bariatric surgery can treat type 2 diabetes. To find out if you may be a candidate for weight loss surgery, read the following information.

Are you a candidate? Simple question, convoluted answer. Having type 2 diabetes is among the considerations in assessing patients.

Current guidelines from the National Institutes of Health recommend bariatric surgery for people with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater, or 35 if you have an obesity-related disease such as type 2 diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association has said surgery may be considered for adults with type 2 and a BMI above 35, especially if diabetes or related diseases are hard to control by other means such as medications. At this point, the association's experts believe there's insufficient research to recommend surgery for people with a BMI of 30-35.

Several experts, such as David E. Arterburn, M.D., of the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, and Philip Schauer, M.D., of the Cleveland Clinic, say that BMI cutoffs should not be clearly defined for surgery in people with diabetes. "Our study shows that surgeons can easily know the three most important factors to keeping diabetes at bay over the years prior to surgery: how many years a person has already had diabetes, whether they were taking insulin, and poor control of glucose levels," Arterburn says.

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