Why gastric bypass can relieve diabetes symptoms
People who are greatly overweight sometimes wonder whether they should have
gastric bypass surgery.
If they also have diabetes, there's another good reason to choose
surgery. It minimizes and sometimes eliminates the symptoms of diabetes
Gastric bypass is the most common weight-loss surgery in the United
States. It can be done by open surgery or by laparoscopic surgery
through a small incision.
First, the surgeon closes off part of the stomach by sewing or stapling.
The smaller stomach makes patients feel full sooner with less food.
Second, a bypass around the rest of the stomach is made. Food entering
the small intestine absorbs fewer calories because the food moves
through it quickly.
The procedure also produces changes in hormonal activity, allowing
patients to digest meals with better glucose control.
Researchers quoted in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical
Endocrinology & Metabolism say it's the most effective weapon to combat
morbid obesity and, as a side effect, it is proven to relieve symptoms
of type 2 diabetes.
Gastric bypass surgery jumpstarts the weight-loss process with
improvements in blood glucose levels. Researchers say the astonishingly
fast normalization of the glucose process is seen in 85 percent of
diabetics after the surgery.
Researchers are hoping they can learn to achieve the anti-diabetic
effect without surgery, possibly with medications, but that
accomplishment will only be in the distant future.
November is American Diabetes Month
What you should know about diabetes.
We've all heard about diabetes mellitus (or simply diabetes), usually in
reference to how the disease is becoming so prevalent. More than 25
million Americans have it, according to the American Diabetes
But not many people know what it is and how they can avoid getting it.
The food we eat is digested into nutrients, which are then absorbed by
the body. Protein turns into amino acids, fat into fatty acids, and
starch (carbohydrates) into glucose.
Glucose is transported by the blood to the cells, where it's used for
energy. But to enter the cells, insulin is needed. Without it, the level
of glucose in the bloodstream gets too high. It can damage the blood
vessels, cause kidney failure, impotence, blindness, and risks for
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body still produces insulin, but the
cells have become resistant to it. For a while, the body can compensate
by producing more insulin, but the cells become even more resistant.
When the body can no longer produce enough insulin, type 2 diabetes has
Who is at risk, what they can do
The largest risk factor is being overweight. Others include age, a
family history of the disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and
lack of exercise.
Before developing type 2, people almost always have pre-diabetes, a
condition marked by a blood glucose level that's too high. There are no
symptoms, so those with pre-diabetes, often don't realize they have it.
But their doctors will warn them, and they should listen.
Because it could take some time for pre-diabetes to turn into a
full-blown case, there's an opportunity for prevention.
Studies show that changes in diet, weight loss and exercise can prevent
diabetes in up to 60 percent of cases.
Once diabetes is diagnosed, patients have it in their power to reduce
the most serious side effects.
By maintaining glycemic control, keeping blood pressure under control
and improving their cholesterol, they can reduce the risk of
complications such as heart disease, nerve problems, kidney and eye
diseases by one-third to one-half.
The pumpkin has a colorful history
Some say the word pumpkin may have descended from the centuries-old Greek
word pepon which meant large melon.
But that word doesn't actually refer to the pumpkin we know today.
Pumpkins are native to the western hemisphere and have been cultivated
in North American for 5,000 years, according to the History Channel.
The Iroquois Indians were quite skilled in growing the famous member of
the gourd family, an especially useful crop since most everything in the
pumpkin is edible.
While the men hunted, the women tended to the crops. Each spring the
ground was prepared and the women carefully dug holes for the planting.
Into each hole they placed a fish along with a corn, bean and pumpkin
seed. The fish fertilized the ground and the corn stalk provided support
for the bean plant to climb on.
The pumpkin plant offered ground cover to keep the weeds out, and the
roots of the bean added nutrients to the soil. By summer and autumn,
whole fields were filled with corn, beans and pumpkins growing together.
When the first colonists arrived, they survived partly by trading with
the Indians for food.
The Pilgrims made their own contributions as well. In the case of the
pumpkin, they not only gave it the name we know today, but instead of
cutting pumpkins into strips and baking them, they cut off the tops,
scooped out the seeds, and filled the hollow with various ingredients
including milk, honey and spices.
Once filled, they replaced the tops and baked the pumpkins in the hot
coals of a fire, thereby inventing an early pumpkin pie filling.
Later, they baked the concoction in a crust to give us their version of
the pie that we serve at Thanksgiving and at Christmas.