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Archive for the ‘Lap Bands And Diabetes’ Category

60 Minutes Clip On Lap Bands And Diabetes Resolution

Posted by Lori on July 15, 2009

I found this clip over at the Centennial Center For The Treatment of Obesity site. It’s two physicians talking about Lap Bands and diabetes. What one doctor says is that diabetes diminishes in Lap Band patients as their weight decreases. Interesting.

If you have diabetes, and have not yet read up on it, the numbers are pretty impressive. A study published in Obesity Surgery, found resolution of diabetes in Lap Band patients was 66% at one year, and 80% at two years.


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Lap Band Weight Loss Surgery Covered By Medicare

Posted by Lori on July 9, 2009

Wow, this has got to be good news for a lot of people. Medicare is now covering Lap Band surgeries. Being a senior citizen and wrestling with obesity has got to be tough. Especially if you’re got grandchildren running around that you are dying to get down on the floor and play with.

I found this article about Tina Clark, who us 5 feet tall and at 39, weighed 235 pounds. To make matters worse, she was diagnosed with diabetes. And then:

In 2008, Tina was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. She soon felt the nearly disabling effects of the R.A. medications that she was prescribed. The severe side effects included problems and pain with her knees and ankles. Although this autoimmune disease was unrelated to her weight issue, Tina knew that she needed to take considerable steps to increase her overall health, starting with her weight.

“I was only 39 years old, and I felt like I was 60.” Tina says.

Not that there is anything wrong with being sixty, still one hopes to be a bit more spry than that in their thirties.

Anyone she talked to a friend who works in the office of bariatric surgeon of Dr. Duc Vuong. Her friend invited her in for the seminar.

Ready for a fresh start, Tina began her educational period with Dr. Vuong’s office. She met with his dietitian and attended afternoon group meetings, learning about nutrition and what to expect both pre- and post-surgery.

Lap-band surgeon Dr. Duc VuongTina was delightfully surprised by the personalized and specialized service she received from the moment she walked into Dr. Vuong’s office.

She was also impressed that Dr. Vuong leads nearly all of the support groups himself. By the time she scheduled her surgery, she was very well informed of the many ways that the Lap-Band® procedure would positively affect her life, and she was involved in a support group that would help to keep her motivated and accountable.

“Our Program is very different from other clinics,” says Dr. Vuong. “I am becoming known as the ‘Support Surgeon’ because of all the personalized support I offer my patients.”

So, she had the surgery, and:

After her Lap-Band procedure, Tina started to see results immediately. She lost 2 to 3 pounds a week, going from 235 pounds to 180 pounds, and the weight is still coming off. She now eats smaller portions, chooses healthier options, and is proud to weigh in at Dr. Vuong’s office (all weigh-ins are private).

I love this:

“Dr. Vuong is one of a kind. His staff calls and checks on you even during hectic times, such as holidays or hurricane evacuations,” Tina says with a chuckle, referring to this past fall’s chaos. “He keeps in touch with his patients, unlike some other clinics.”

And the good health news:

Tina is no longer in the danger zone for diabetes, and she is off all of her rheumatoid arthritis medications. The only medicine she takes these days is vitamins!

These are the kinds of stories that you can find about Lap Band patient and I guarantee you that she loves her Lap Band. They make weight manageable. It’s not a miracle. It’s a tool. And if you’re wrestling with obesity, it’s a tool that you should look at very seriously.

Posted in Bariatric Surgeons, Lap Band Weight Loss Stories, Lap Bands And Diabetes | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Medicare May Expand Lap Band Coverage

Posted by Lori on May 19, 2008

Well, this is good news. Maybe it will help knock down a few more insurance walls for Lap Bands here in the US. Maybe it’ll help reduce the cost as well.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Medicare program may expand reimbursement for bariatric surgery for the obese, in light of a study that found the treatment can help reverse diabetes, the agency said on Monday.

Recent research found the surgery can completely reverse type 2 diabetes, a metabolic condition spurred by weight gain and suffered by millions of Americans.

Medicare, the government health plan for the nation’s 44 million elderly, “will assess the nature of the scientific evidence supporting surgery for the treatment of diabetes,” the agency said on its Web site.

The agency will decide whether to set a “national coverage decision,” that would set reimbursement policy for all Medicare recipients. It could also decide to not cover the weight-loss surgery for diabetes alone.

The government already pays for the surgery in certain patients, generally those classified as “morbidly obese.”

Both my mother, and my grandfather had diabetes and died at the age of 64 from heart attacks. Neither of them were obese and both of them were quite active. My grandfather was a rodeo photograher – not a job for the unfit. He was taking down storm windows from his home when he died. My mother was digging a ditch and I’m guessing the combination of the diabetes, the smoking and the Arkansas summer heat took her. Still, 64 is awfully young. Here’s hoping that we help keep parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles around longer.

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Caffeine, Insulin, Fat and Weight Loss

Posted by Lori on April 21, 2008

As I mentioned earlier today, Gwen of Gwen’s WLS Journey was stuck on a weight loss plateau for several days. She’s lost eighty pounds with her Lap Band and is now down to losing her final fifteen. She finally laid off coffee over the weekend and voila! she dropped a pound and a quarter.

Duke University did a study on caffeine and Type II diabetics and discovered that it caused blood sugar levels to spike through out the day after meals. We don’t know whether it does the same for non-diabetics or not, but we do know that Dr. Atkins found his patients didn’t lose weight as well when they were drinking coffee. In my case, I could barely register as being ketosis if I drink any caffeine whatsoever regardless of how meticulous I am about keeping my carbs below induction level.

Here’s a quick little video from the Mayo Clinic for diabetics about how blood glucose and insulin are created and function in your body.

Calories Per Hour puts what happens next very simply:

Our pancreas creates a hormone called insulin that transports blood sugar into our body’s cells where it is used for energy. When we eat refined grains that have had most of their fiber stripped away, sugar, or other carbohydrate-rich foods that are quickly processed into blood sugar, the pancreas goes into overtime to produce the insulin necessary for all this blood sugar to be used for energy. This insulin surge tells our body that plenty of energy is readily available and that it should stop burning fat and start storing it.

From the Duke study:

Participants took capsules containing caffeine equal to about four cups of coffee on one day and then identical capsules that contained a placebo on another day. Everyone had the same nutrition drink for breakfast, but were free to eat whatever they liked for lunch and dinner.

The researchers found that when the participants consumed caffeine, their average daily sugar levels went up 8 per cent. Caffeine also exaggerated the rise in glucose after meals: increasing by 9 percent after breakfast, 15 percent after lunch and 26 per cent after dinner.

“We’re not sure what it is about caffeine that drives glucose levels up, but we have a couple of theories,” says Lane, who is the lead author of the study. “It could be that caffeine interferes with the process that moves glucose from the blood and into muscle and other cells in the body where it is used for fuel. It may also be that caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline – the ‘fight or flight” hormone that we know can also boost sugar levels.”

For those of you who aren’t losing weight, try laying off the caffeine and see if it makes a difference. We all love our coffee and tea, but most of us would rather be skinny. 🙂

Posted in Caffeine, Lap Bands And Diabetes, Why You Can't (Or Don't) Lose Weight And Keep It Off | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Lap Band and Insulin Resistance

Posted by Lori on April 3, 2008

Here’s an interesting study from a year ago. For those of you who are pre-diabetic, I think you’ll be interested.

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – After having “lap band” surgery for weight loss, men and women show large increases in sensitivity to the blood-sugar-regulating hormone insulin — even if they remain obese — a new study shows.

From Dr. Joan Carroll, at the University of North Texas Health Science Center (can you imagine what their business cards look like?) in Fort Worth:

To investigate, Carroll and her team have been following 37 lap band patients for up to one year. Those followed for six months have lost 23 kilograms (51 pounds), on average, while average weight loss for those who have been followed for a year is 34 kg (75 pounds).

Their level of insulin resistance had fallen by 60 percent after six months, she told Reuters Health, even though the patients remained clinically obese.

Given that resistance to insulin greatly increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which has a number of other health consequences including heart disease and even amputations, “over the long term it’s really a benefit for all the body systems,” Carroll said.

Lorraine Kay, in her interview, talks about needing 120 units of insulin a day and that, of course, made losing weight impossible. Her diabetes is in full remission.

From a study at the University of Illinois at Chicago, we find out just how quickly patients get to leave insulin behind:

For example, nearly all patients stopped requiring insulin injections by postoperative day 2, owing to caloric restriction, he said.

Now, admittedly, you’re living on soup broth and there’s nothing there to toy with your blood sugar. Still, for people who live with injecting themselves, to learn that there is way to reliably lose weight and that insulin injections can cease almost immediately is very good news.

And, of course, there’s the other good news we already know:

Hadar Spivak, MD, from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, reported on the health effects of this procedure in a separate study involving 535 patients. After at least 16 months of follow-up, Dr. Spivak and colleagues observed statistically significant improvements in gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, asthma, and diabetes (P < .05).

These researchers assessed the health impact of the procedure by monitoring changes in medication use. “We’ve been asked whether decreased medication is a good way to judge this,” Dr. Spivak said. “We think it is, because we are independent of the primary care physician; they have full control [over patient medication].”

And then there is that 72% decrease in the risk of dying for obese people who have a Lap Band procedure.

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The First Month After A Lap Band Procedure

Posted by Lori on March 27, 2008

In this video, Lorraine Kay talks about the first month after surgery. Lorraine had congestive heart failure and wrestled with a tremendous amount of edema – which largely disappeared the first month. Her legs had been so swollen that she couldn’t bend them to walk up stairs. Now, she could walk and felt like a different person. She didn’t need pain pills but she was kinda hungry.

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Lorraine Kay’s Lap Band Weight Loss Story

Posted by Lori on March 26, 2008

Lorraine Kay was an ultra-high risk patient. Just over 5 feet tall, she weighed 325 pounds. Her physician had warned her that she didn’t have another year left. Her diabetes was completely out of control (120 units of insulin a day), she was losing her vision and had congestive heart failure. Her physician wanted to perform a gastric bypass. Her surgeon refused to because he didn’t think she’d survive the surgery – although he did think she could get through a Lap Band. Her physician rejected the Lap Band because he didn’t think she’d lose weight fast enough to extend her life. Eventually, her surgeon won out. There was a four hour delay to make sure the crash cart was available, but she came though it just fine. I’ll let Lorraine tell her story from here on out.

This is the first of the videos that I’ve shot and I will be upping the resolution. I’m having a bit of a YouTube learning curve.

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Sending Diabetes Into Remission With Lap Band Surgery

Posted by Lori on March 17, 2008

Lots of interesting stuff in this article from Myrtle Beach Online – it even addresses the mortality rate of an experienced gastric band surgeon versus an inexperienced one (hint – make sure your surgeon has performed more than 20 procedures). Mostly, though, it’s about how effective weight loss surgery is at sending diabetes into remission, and how much safer the Lap Band procedure is as opposed to the gastric bypass procedure. Lap band procedures have a success rate of 76 percent curing diabetes II.

Four years ago, Dr. Donald Balder of Conway Medical Center’s Weight Loss Center began performing weight loss surgery to treat diabetes in patients.

A recent landmark study out of Australia provides the strongest evidence yet that weight-loss surgery can send Type II diabetes into remission.

The Journal of the American Medical Association published the results of a study in January that stated patients who underwent surgery to reduce their stomach size were five times more likely to witness a disappearance in their diabetes over the next two years than patients undergoing standard c

That’s impressive. Patients who undergo weight loss surgery are five times as likely to see a remission in their diabetes as people who use standard treatment – ie, drugs, diet and exercise.

What I didn’t know was that a lot of doctors had concerns that since the Lap Band procedure is so much less dramatic than gastric bypass that it might not work as well. However, that has proven to not be the case.

According to Balder, many doctors felt that the newer lap-band procedure, which has been done in Australia for more than a decade, wouldn’t resolve diabetes as effectively as gastric bypass surgery.

“We feel as though there’s some sort of hormonal changes that go on when we staple the stomach, which is why they didn’t think the band would cause the same changes,” he said.

“But the band has caused the same changes without the increased risk of death and all of the complications of weight loss surgery.”


Gastric bypass, which has been studied extensively in the United States, has a cure rate for Type II diabetes of about 84 percent.

Susan Michaels of Loris is a local patient whose diabetes is now remission and who is off insulin.

One of these patients is Susan Michaels of Loris, who had Type II diabetes for five years and took insulin as well as two types of blood pressure medication. After finding that dieting and exercising proved unsuccessful in her attempts at weight loss, Michaels read about the link between diabetes and weight-loss surgery in the newspaper.

“I turned 50 last year and just thought after 25 years of being obese I needed to do something other than what I have done,” she said. Since her lap-band surgery at the Weight Loss Center in May, Michaels has lost 54 pounds and no longer needs insulin.

“It’s a wonderful feeling to no longer need diabetes medication. I exercise easier and eat so much less than I did before banding. I am now down to one blood pressure medication and may be off that by the end of the month,” Michaels said.

“I do not have to say I’m diabetic anymore. I feel so much better about my health and am still working on losing even more weight,” Michaels said

And the numbers are here:

Blood tests showed diabetes remission in 22 of the 29 surgery patients after two years and an average weight loss of 46 pounds, while only four of the 26 patients in the standard care-group eliminated their diabetes, losing an average of three pounds.

“This new study that comes out of Australia is very remarkable in that it has a nearly 76 percent cure rate for Type II diabetes, which is an extraordinarily high cure rate for a difficult disease,” Balder said.

And for people who are lower weight and have Class 1 diabetes, it’s even more effective. One hundred percent of those people saw their disease remission. Insurance isn’t likely to pay for that now, but hopefully, with enough people challenging that, it will change.

Weight-loss surgery can help patients with Class I diabetes, or a body mass index of 30 to 34.9, and Class II diabetes, or a body mass index of 35 to 39.9, although weight-loss surgery is currently focused on morbidly obese patients, Balder said.

“Another study in Australia done on people with Class 1 diabetes showed that folks who had lap band at that weight all lost their diabetes, but unfortunately we haven’t gotten insurance to pay for that smaller weight category here yet,” Balder said.

It has taken me a few weeks to cover this, but it did need to be covered. Diabetes is terrible disease. Both my mother and my grandfather died in their early sixties from heart disease because of it – it’s not to be taken lightly. Lorraine Kay, whose interview I will have up today, is legally blind because of her diabetes. The costs to that disease are tremendous. This research is very, very good news.

It’s a beautiful day in Los Angeles. The sky is that bright, bright blue and the sunlight is beaming off the clouds. Flowers are blooming like mad and it’s baby plant green everywhere you look. The wind is a bit brisk, so allergies are acting up everywhere. But I’m going out for a walk and it should be a lovely one. I hope you get a nice nature break as well.

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