AARP fumbles surgery story
Gastric bypass surgery ... can cause people to lose 80 percent or more of their excess weight. And to the surprise of many researchers, this surgery reverses type 2 diabetes in many patients — often immediately after surgery, before they begin to lose weight. Among obese patients with type 2 diabetes who undergo gastric bypass surgery, studies show that 86 percent see significant improvements in blood sugar control. In 78 percent, the signs of diabetes vanish entirely. No other treatment for this potentially deadly disease has been shown to work as well.
To say that gastric bypass "can" cause people to lose 80 percent of their excess weight sounds impressive but really isn't, since people "could" lose 100 percent of their excess weight whether they have surgery or adopt a better eating regimen by any means.
Rather than telling me what surgical patients can do, tell me what they DO do. And then let's compare that with the cost of the surgery, the long-term success rate, and the other side effects.
Meanwhile, I'm not surprised that a high percentage of people who get the surgery experience greater control of their blood sugar, but that came from better eating. I got control of my blood sugar too, going on 20 years now, and I never had the surgery.
I do not oppose the surgery. It may be the best option in extreme cases, where mortality is imminent and emergency surgical intervention is called for.
But people who ate their way into consideration for surgery will still have the same urges, and quite possibly the same spiritual hole, that they had before the surgery, which makes doesn't fix any of the attendant issues; it merely shrinks the space into which one can stuff food. That might be enough for some extreme overeaters, but they would be the minority.
Meanwhile, as Werdell wrote in a rejoinder to AARP, more than 100,000 people have gotten help for problem eating in 12 Step support groups such as Food Addicts Anonymous, Compulsive Eaters Anonymous, and Overeaters Anonymous.
Surgery is an option, but it isn't the only option. As many readers may already know, I went to rehab, to an eating disorders unit, in the early '90s, back when that was still supported by insurance, even if only in a back-door sort of way. It changed my life.
Just a couple years later, managed care had slammed that back door shut. Today, even with its significant potential downsides, the knife is the practically only option if you want insurance support to get better.