WSFA/NBC - Over 18 million people are undiagnosed with diabetes in the United States, experts say. Now there may be a new way for people who have failed with other types of treatment options to get help.
When we think of gastric bypass, we often think of surgery to help the overweight lose weight but it may also be a cutting-edge treatment for diabetes, experts say.
"Even before you start to lose weight the surgery can actually start to cure, treat your diabetes." Bariatric surgical coordinator Paige Patman says." The sleeve makes your stomach smaller, gastric bypass makes your stomach smaller and also bypasses part of your intestine so less of the food you eat is absorbed."
Patman says this affects how your body reacts to food.
"It actually changes the metabolic processes," Patman says. "We have patients that come in on three or four medications for diabetes and before they even leave the hospital, so two or three days after surgery, they may have normal blood sugars."
Keep in mind this only works for type two diabetics and experts say it's a last resort after other failed treatment options like diet and exercise.
Clinical nutrition manager Kathleen Oliver said, "Making sure that we're not skipping meals, that we're spacing foods apart throughout the day, making sure we're not going too long without eating."
With a preventable disease that keeps growing, Patman hopes insurance companies will soon cover the procedures.
"At a certain point, it's the only thing that's going to get rid of diabetes."