New Delhi: For
58-year-old Delhi resident Narendra Gupta, life took a new turn
when he was able to go off diabetes medication after 15 years.
Though nothing short of a miracle for him, this was possible by a
simple bariatric surgery, commonly known as weight reduction
Gupta weighed 110 kgs before he went for the procedure around a
month back. Since then, he has shed 13 kgs, apart from being
totally off diabetes medication.
"A relative of mine told me that the surgery will help solve a lot
of problem, and my health is much better now," says Gupta.
Traditionally meant for weight reduction, more and more people are
now going for the surgery to get rid of lifestyle diseases.
"'Diabesity' is the newest term, which is a combination of
diabetes and obesity," says Atul Peters, director of minimal
accesses, metabolic and bariatric surgery at Delhi's Primus
"Nearly 80 percent of diabetes is related to obesity. Obesity is
also the second biggest cause of cancer after smoking," he says.
Costing around Rs.2.5 to 3 lakh, the surgery has emerged as a
major relief for many, actually reversing type-II diabetes in most
"Traditionally, the only treatment for diabetes was lifestyle
modification, but this surgery is now coming up as an effective
cure for diabetes in obese people" says Yogesh Agarwal, senior
consultant of surgery at Fortis Hospital in Noida.
With an estimated 50.8 million people living with diabetes, India
has the world's largest population of diabetics, followed by China
with 43.2 million.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), an estimated 285
million people, corresponding to 6.4 percent of the world's adult
population, were diabetic in 2010. The number is expected to grow
to 438 million by 2030.
Diabetes is also one of the major causes of premature illness and
deaths worldwide. Non-communicable diseases, including diabetes,
account for 60 percent of all deaths globally.
"In 2008, adult population with a BMI (body mass index) of above
30 in India was 2.8 percent, which means 15,00,000 people were
obese," says Peters.
BMI, which is calculated by dividing one's weight by the square of
the height, gives the individual's obesity level.
Doctors say type-II diabetes can be reversed with bariatric
"Bariatric surgery is also called metabolic surgery because it has
very good effect on diabetes. We have seen reversal of diabetes in
80 to 90 percent patients," he told IANS.
The surgery reduces the size of stomach through different methods.
"Bariatric surgery is done through three methods, by implanting a
band around the stomach (gastric banding), through removal of a
portion of the stomach (sleeve gastrectomy or biliopancreatic
diversion with duodenal switch) or by making a bypass resecting
and re-routing the small intestines to a small stomach pouch
(gastric bypass surgery)," says Agarwal.
"This surgery is not removal of fat. It is a minimal invasive
surgery by which we reduce the size of the stomach.
"This changes the path of food and it reaches the intestine
faster. Due to shorter transit time, absorption of fat is reduced.
"Since the size of stomach is reduced, the patient is able to take
less food, which helps in reducing weight," says Agarwal.
According to doctors, in maximum cases, the medication for
diabetes is either not required anymore or is reduced
"In type-II diabetes, insulin is there, but it is not utilised by
body. After this surgery, some hormones are generated which
activates production and utilisation of insulin, making diabetes
disappear," says Peters.
Doctors say there has been a steep increase in the number of
patients undergoing the surgery.
"In 2006 in India, a total of 200 bariatric surgeries were done.
Now, it is more than 4,000 per year," Agarwal adds.
The doctors add that the surgery is performed only on those with a
BMI of above 33. Weight loss happens upto one-and-half years after
the surgery, and nearly 90 percent of the excess weight is lost.
(Anjali Ojha can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)