Q: I've been taking oral diabetes medications for five years. I've never gotten my A1c below 9 percent, and I can't lose and keep weight off. The doctor says I have a couple of alternatives: start taking insulin and become more conscientious about testing and nutrition, or consider getting a kind of gastric surgery called sleeve gastrectomy. Is one choice better than the other?
LAUREN B., Birmingham, Ala.
A: It's never too late to make a difference in your blood-sugar readings, your weight and your future. But you'll need to get more physical activity, eat healthful foods, reduce stress and sleep seven to eight hours a night, no matter if you're taking insulin or opting for gastric surgery.
That said, new info from the STAMPEDE study, supported in part by the Cleveland Clinic, shows that gastric surgery is an effective way to control weight and blood sugar. Both Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy (in combination with Advanced Medical Therapy - diet, exercise and medication), promote substantial weight loss and can bring A1c levels down to 7 percent or lower and keep them there. They also help people get off insulin and other meds BETTER than Advanced Medical Therapy alone.
But gastric surgery can have complications (infection and blood clots) and sometimes needs revision. And you'll need to make sure you're getting the right amount of vitamins and odd omegas.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.