Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Diabetes Improves After Obesity Surgery

Gastric Bypass Surgery May Be Realistic Option for Improvement of Diabetes Complications
WebMD Health News

Oct. 6, 2003 -- Gastric bypass surgery -- often a last resort for severely obese people -- can vastly improve diabetes, a new study shows.

The finding adds yet another benefit to this weight-loss procedure. Chest pain, shortness of breath, high blood pressure, and sleep problems also drop substantially, researchers have found.

However, the effects of gastric bypass surgery on diabetes have not received much attention, writes lead researcher Philip R. Schauer, MD, director of bariatric surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. His report appears in the current issue of Annals of Surgery.

Even though diabetes is usually treated with medication and insulin, eventually it can progress to kidney failure, blindness, erectile dysfunction, even amputation, says Schauer.

'Very Dramatic' Diabetes Results

But his study showed the procedure can actually "cure" diabetes, Schauer tells WebMD. "Overall, after surgery these patients had complete resolution of diabetes -- very dramatic."

Jennifer Marks, MD, a diabetes specialist at the University of Miami School of Medicine, has counseled a number of gastric bypass patients. "Gastric surgery is a technique for people have tried everything else to lose weight and not been successful," Marks tells WebMD. "I recommend it as an option. It can work." She, too, has seen remarkable effects on diabetes.

However, if patients regain weight, "it also means their diabetes could come back," Suzanne Gebhart, MD, a diabetes expert with Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, tells WebMD.

All the 144 people in Schauer's study weighed over 300 pounds before gastric bypass surgery and were considered morbidly obese. Most were women with an average age of 40.

The surgery involves restricting the size of the stomach by stapling most of it shut, so that patients feel satisfied with small amounts of food. And some of the food isn't absorbed. These two mechanisms allow patients to lose weight.

The study's patients all had some degree or risk of type 2 diabetes, ranging from very mild to moderate to severe, he says. Some were taking no diabetes medications; others were taking several prescriptions plus insulin. Some patients had had diabetes for less than five years, some for more than 10 years.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
Home Healthcare

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner