Diabetic weight loss: Key to managing epidemic disease
11/22/2016 11:04 AM
Diabetes is the country’s No. 1 cause of blindness, kidney failure and amputations, and, according to Dr. Erik Anderson, a general surgeon for Live Oak Health Partners, it isn’t always easy to spot in the early stages.
“A lot of times diabetes doesn’t hurt, so it doesn’t cause a lot of symptoms that come to people’s attention readily,” Anderson said. “The earliest signs of diabetes include increased thirst and hunger and a more frequent urge to urinate.”
As the disease progresses and blood sugar levels increase, symptoms may become more obvious with headaches, blurred vision and fatigue.
“If you are showing these symptoms, see your physician for a simple blood test that will determine if you have diabetes,” Anderson said.
LINK TO OBESITY
Diabetes is commonly associated with obesity, and while most diabetics are overweight, Anderson says that is not always the case.
“Diabetes runs the spectrum,” he said. “Some people with diabetes are very thin and active, and it’s more a problem with their metabolism or having a family history.”
CTMC diabetes educator Mario Torres identifies family history, being overweight, living an inactive lifestyle, having high blood pressure and high cholesterol as the risk factors for developing diabetes.
“It’s not always easy for people to focus on planning their meals and getting active, but those are the only two modifiable factors that can decrease a person’s chances of developing diabetes,” Torres said.
According to Torres, studies show that if a person loses 7 to 10 percent of their body weight, it can improve their health and outcomes. “So if a person weighing 200 pounds loses just 14 pounds, it will make a big difference in terms of their health,” Torres said.
WEIGHT LOSS PROCEDURES
In 2009, the American Diabetes Association published a study identifying weight loss surgery as a potential cure for diabetes. Anderson completes weight loss procedures at CTMC with the da Vinci robotic surgical system and said he has seen many patients come off of diabetes medications after weight loss surgery.
“It’s a vicious cycle for people with morbid obesity and diabetes, because a lot of the medications cause weight gain,” Anderson said. “Insulin is an anabolic medication, which means it adds mass to your body. So people who are on insulin end up in this downward spiral where they continue to gain weight, which makes their diabetes worse, which means they need more insulin.”
CTMC offers many diabetes resources, including classes, a support group and free monthly glucose checks. For more information, visit ctmcdiabetes.com.