Obesity is a major epidemic in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), two thirds of adults in the United States are obese. If you’re among these two thirds, your risk factor for type 2 diabetes is great—and in fact, you may have diabetes and be unaware. The American Diabetes Association recommends that as part of your fight against pre-diabetes, type 1 diabetes, and type 2 diabetes, you develop a diet and exercise regimen to maintain control over your blood glucose levels. For some, though, the conventional methods of weight loss have proved ineffective and being overweight continues to threaten their ability to live a healthy life.

The good news is that over the years, a procedure has been refined that offers profound results: gastric bypass surgery. What was once considered a very risky surgery is now almost an instantaneous solution to weight loss and, in the case of pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes, a return to normal blood glucose levels. Here’s how the procedure works: Two thirds of the stomach is isolated, and the remaining third is made into a small pouch at the end of the esophagus. Intestines are rearranged so that digestive enzymes have less contact with the food stream, hence the term "bypass". The result of this procedure is high weight loss and improved levels of glucose, triglycerides, and cholesterol.

While no studies have looked at long term effects of gastric bypass surgery on diabetes, other research has produced impressive results. The fasting glucose levels of participants in one study were measured and remained in normal range for 10 years. In effect, gastric bypass surgery forces type 2 diabetes into instant remission.

It’s important to remember that the surgery still carries risks. It is important to consider the following information and ask yourself these important questions before deciding on this course of treatment for obesity:

Are you:

  • Unlikely to lose weight or keep it off over the long-term with nonsurgical measures

  • Well informed about the surgical procedure and the effects of treatment

  • Determined to lose weight and improve your health

  • Aware of how your life may change after the operation (adjustment to the side effects of the operation, including the need to chew food well and inability to eat large meals)

  • Aware of the potential risk for serious complications, dietary restrictions, and occasional failures

  • Committed to lifelong healthy eating and physical activity habits, medical follow-up, and vitamin/mineral supplementation?

Remember: There are no guarantees for any method, including surgery, to produce and maintain weight loss. Success is possible only with maximum cooperation and commitment to behavioral change and medical follow-up—and this cooperation and commitment must be carried out for the rest of your life.