Beth Elkins struggled with her weight for years. She'd lose, then gain -- and lose, and then gain again. But two years ago, at age 43, she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes -- and that changed everything.
"For me, having type 2 diabetes and having the problem with weight that goes along with it -- it took 20 years off my life. I'm a prime candidate for having a stroke," Elkins said.
So she researched another tool -- surgery. After months of preparation and education, Elkins underwent bariatric surgery in January. There are three types -- gastric bypass, the lap band and the sleeve gastrectomy. She chose the latter.
Today, Elkins is down 50 pounds in four months, with another 50 to reach her goal. But the best news for her -- the diabetes is in full remission, meaning she's off of the two medications she'd been taking daily.
"To make this decision was not one I entered into lightly, but I wanted to change my life. I wanted to take control of it," Elkins said.
And with careful lifestyle changes, the odds are in her favor to remain in remission -- perhaps permanently. A new study out of the Cleveland Clinic shows 50-percent of those patients with type 2 diabetes who underwent bariatric surgery remained in either complete or partial remission six years later. That's welcome news, but not surprising to doctors who specialize in the endocrine system.
"I've actually seen a couple of studies, one in particular from Sweden, that showed even higher success rates. I think it sort of depends on the population you start with, so how sick was your population to being with because obviously if you perform surgery on a healthy population you might get really robust results," said Dr. Annis Marney, a Fletcher Allen Endocronologist.
Elkins is one of Marney's success stories. She says the numbers are gratifying, but seeing patients who are happy about their life is even better. As for Elkins: "Would I do it again? I wish I had done it 10 years ago to be truthful," she said.
She wishes she'd been tested for diabetes much sooner, and received the wake up call she needed to change her life.
Doctors say it's important to weigh the risks and benefits for each patient considering bariatric surgery, but for most, it appears beneficial.
Thursday, April 17 2014 5:52 PM EDT2014-04-17 21:52:21 GMT
Police say two people found dead at a home in Stowe are believed to have died in a murder-suicide. Police are still not releasing their names or the cause of death, but they say the victims are adults. StoweMore >>
A Stowe couple is dead after what police say was a murder-suicide. The news came as a shock to neighbors who say they never noticed any red flags. More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 6:01 PM EDT2014-04-17 22:01:29 GMT
A man charged with shooting his neighbor and two Vermont State Police officers was in court Thursday in Middlebury. Timothy Foley did appear in court Thursday in Middlebury. He wasn't there last time,More >>
A man charged with shooting his neighbor and two Vermont State Police officers was in court Thursday in Middlebury.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 11:26 AM EDT2014-04-17 15:26:34 GMT
A 79-year-old woman accused of causing the death of a motorcyclist in Vermont last year has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of careless or negligent operation and has received a suspended sentence of six to...More >>
A 79-year-old woman accused of causing the death of a motorcyclist in Vermont last year has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of careless or negligent operation and has received a suspended sentence of six to 12 months.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 12:05 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:05:16 GMT
A teenager has been arrested for making a bomb threat in St. Albans. Police say the threat was made to Project SOAR, an alternative school, Wednesday morning. The building was searched and no bomb wasMore >>
Police say a teenager has been arrested for allegedly making a bomb threat to an alternative school in St. Albans.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 12:05 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:05:01 GMT
A missing elderly woman from Rutland has been found safe in Burlington. Police say Grace Maddaloni, 88, disappeared Wednesday after what they called a "disagreement." Because of her age and being in theMore >>
A missing elderly woman from Rutland has been found safe in Burlington.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 6:22 PM EDT2014-04-17 22:22:30 GMT
Financial problems in the Burlington School District continue to mount and now the school board is silencing the superintendent. On Wednesday the district announced it is in trouble with the InternalMore >>
Financial problems in the Burlington School District continue to mount and now the school board is silencing the superintendent.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 12:04 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:04:45 GMT
Darn Tough appears to be making a darn good profit. The high-end sock manufacturer out of Northfield reports the first quarter of this year was its best ever, with revenues up almost 80 percent over theMore >>
Vermont sock manufacturer Darn Tough reports the first quarter of this year was its best ever.More >>