You'd Think They'd Get It Right

When I signed online today, the first thing I saw on my home page was this question: “Can This Surgery Cure Diabetes?” I KNEW it would be about bariatric surgeries and type 2 dm, but I was HOPING that this time, just once, the blankety-blank media would get it right: “This surgery will help only people with type 2 diabetes; it won’t help those who develop type 1 dm, a condition not caused by a combination of genetics and lifestyle, but by an autoimmune attack on the beta cells.” That’s all I’m asking. Nothing much.

Yet, when you read the page, you will see it does not make the distinction between the two conditions. Worse, it’s been up on the Parade Magazine site since May 2, 2010 – with no comments. The only thing I read in the article that ought to make the uninitiated think that this would not be an appropriate procedure for me is the fact that it says that bariatric surgery is not for those who have BMIs below 35 – and mine is 20.4, BTW. But, not everyone with type 1 dm has BMIs below 35. Even so, people with type 1 and a BMI greater than 35 still will not be cured of their dm. That needs to be made clear!

What I truly find abhorent (besides the fact that this article was written by a doctor) is that one of the lead editors of Parade Magazine is Fran Carpentier, who has type 1 dm!! She’s been featured on the front cover of Diabetes Forecast Magazine! JDRF featured her several years ago! She’s been an outspoken advocate for diabetes. So, Fran, how could you let this slip by? She knows the differences between the two forms, she knows bariatric surgery will not cure type 1 dm!! How could she let that one slip by??

Frustrated Angela

Wow, and I thought I was upset at constantly being told by my endo that I would be all better if I just lost weight, cause I am such a fat *ss with a BMI of 25.

ps. Just because Fran Carpentier is a senior editor does not mean that she even saw the piece from the belly cutters.

pps. The article, while written by a doctor, it was by a family doctor, and although she got the 15 minute lecture on diabetes, she probably didn’t get the advanced 20 minute lecture that tells about the difference between t1 and t2.

I think the magazine should correct this. Type 1 is often lumped in with Type 2; most people don’t know there is a difference. This type of misinformation is ongoing. This type of surgery does help Type 2; and not jsut because the person then loses weight. Surgery may effect something at the gut level.

Diabetes is a spectrum disorder. There are a number of vectors by which diabetes affects us. Ralph DeFronzo in his 2008 Banting Lecture ( discusses eight of these elements. One of those is certainly a decline in beta-cell function. Another is a secretion problem involving the so-called incretins. It is hypothesized that these surgeries correct or compensate for this incretin problem. But there are also drugs that address these secretion mechanisms, Byetta, Januvia and Victoza also improve diabetes in some (but not all diabetics), without cutting people open. Bariatric surgery carries major risks, not just from the surgery, but also from eating and digestion problems.

We are all diabetics, of all different kinds. Yes, there is a huge amount of misinformation, but the diabetic world is not broken down into two nice little categories of type 1 and type 2. It is much more complicated. And I don’t see how this surgery could possibly help me as a diagnosed type 2 who is not overweight and has failed to respond to Byetta and Victoza over the long term. Yes there is misinformation, but not only about what the difference is between type 1 and type 2, but also about the so called type 2 diabetes and the connection with obesity.

Yeah, let’s not also forget that the surgery often brings with it, other just as serious problems as the Diabetes, like “dumping”, which are dangerous hypoglycemia episodes that may cause people to pass in public, or while driving, etc… Plus all the chronic vitamin and mineral deficiencies causing hair loss, among other problems… it’s very bad. I guess I’d rather live as a controlled diabetic, than as someone who is disabled and can’t legally drive a car, from dumping all over the place, and passing out.