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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Type II Diabetes, Weight Loss, and Gastric Banding

Here's another tidbit from the Sunday issue of Parade. This one I found particularly interesting for several reasons. A study conducted in Australia has found that gastric banding can result in enough substantial weight loss to actually eliminate type II diabetes. What is gastric banding? A band of silicone is actually inflated around the top portion of the stomach. Why? To restrict food intake. Of those individuals who used gastric banding, 73 percent lost approximately 21 percent of their body weight and found that their type II diabetes reversed.

This news is amazing and should be inspiring to those who have type II diabetes. And there are insights that can be taken from this. Even if a person doesn't have this procedure done, it is fairly obvious that weight loss is vital to controlling type II.

A person with type II should really do the following:

1. Stay compliant with their medications. The reason is simple. You want to control your blood sugar levels, avoid glucose spikes, and keep the pressure off your pancreas.

Spikes in blood sugar are absolutely something you want to avoid because excess sugar is destructive and causes nerve damage. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can ultimately result in peripheral neuropathy. Picture constant burning, itching, or numbness in your extremities. Neuropathy is not something you want. Ever. However, uncontrolled type II diabetes can eventually lead to retinopathy or even blindess, nephopathy or even complete kidney failure (requiring hemodialysis).

2. Lose weight. Weight loss should be a primary goal for someone with type II diabetes. In the Australian study, gastric banding helped 73 percent of the study participants lose significant weight. But surgical intervention is certainly not the only way to lose weight. A steady routine of regular exercise combined with a certain amount of calorie restriction and sensible eating can progessively whittle away at the number you see on the scales.

Of course, losing weight is harder if you are older (slower metabolism) or have a sedentary job. And this may necessitate going to a gym or fitness center sometime during the day (if you have a 24 hour center in your area, this makes it far easier to get in some "gym time").

On a personal note with regard to "sensible eating", I have found that reducing my intake of carbs goes a long way toward keeping my weight in line, regardless of whether or not I am trying to rev up my metabolism with physical activity.

For most people, a significant change with regard to carbohydrate intake might be avoiding all sugar drinks (you can find plenty of diet drinks that do not taste horrible), avoiding chips and cookies completely, and really paying attention to what's on the plate such as mashed potatoes and servings of bread.

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