By Shane McGinley
Diabetes costs governments around $500m and could be cured using weight loss surgery
Diabetes in the Middle East could be cured “within a few days”
and save governments around $500m a year if hospitals implemented innovative
gastric bypass surgery for suffers, a US-based doctor specialising in weight
loss surgery told Arabian Business.
Some 70 percent of UAE residents are classed as overweight or
obese, a trend that is poised to trigger a surge in chronic diseases such as
diabetes, which experts claim costs governments around $500m a year in
Sunil Bhoyrul, a specialist in this field from Del Mar Surgical,
based in Southern California, told Arabian Business gastric bypass surgery,
which involves making a small stomach pouch and bypassing part of the
intestine, could be the solution for diabetes patients.
“When we bypass the stomach I can cure diabetes within a few
days and this might become the gold standard in the Gulf for curing diabetes so
it is a really exciting procedure, not just for obesity but for diabetes,”
He added that he had received interest from hospital and
healthcare groups in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain in introducing
weight loss surgery as an option for their patients.
“I was invited by hospitals to try and bring a US-style
programme… to the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain. Some are interested
but I am not sure they are quite ready yet as they are primarily focused on the
surgery, rather than the overall care of the patient.”
However, he believed there first needed to be a shift in culture
in how Gulf hospitals approach aftercare for patients as surgery on its own
could be a short-term solution and not a long-term cure.
“There needs to be a philosophical change. [Aftercare] is one
area the Gulf is lacking. The surgery is not the answer to obesity. The
solution is preparation and making lifestyle changes and keeping up with the
programme for the rest of your life.
“When I visited some hospitals in the Gulf they have three month
follow up programmes. I guarantee a third of their patients are going to put
all the weight back on within three to five years.
“If you treat the illness as a surgical problem you are going to
get horrible problems. But if you treat it as a medical illness and you do
surgery and follow them up for the rest of their life you are going to get
Click here to watch video of the gastric bypass surgery (Note: the video contains some graphic depictions of medical operations; and may be offensive for some viewers)
There are many kinds of diabetes, only a few of which could possibly be helped by the surgery. Of course, for those few, the surgery might offer real savings, but it's not the panacea that the surgeon claims.
I think this new practice could cure the most criticle diabetic patients, and although I agree that the route of the problem should be adressed first. But then again, some people are dying and need this type of innovative procedure to cure thier illness.
Hope it works though!