EAGLE ROCK, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Gastric bypass surgery isn't just for losing weight. New research is showing the procedure can help tackle other health issues like diabetes.
"You can cure diabetes with this type of surgery," said Dr. George Mutafyan, a Glendale-based weight-loss physician.
A new study by Seattle-based researchers suggests that gastric bypass surgery could help not only the extremely obese, but also those who are more moderately overweight and struggling with diabetes.
Researchers assigned 15 people with diabetes to gastric bypass and 17 to lifestyle changes like better diet, exercise and medication.
Nine people in the gastric bypass group were in diabetes remission afterward, while only one person in the lifestyle group saw their diabetes disappear.
Gerry Baltazar, 41, knows the benefits well.
Four years ago, the Eagle Rock man says, he tipped the scales at 540 pounds, with a 64-inch waist.
After gastric bypass surgery he's down to 230. He doesn't have to take blood pressure medication and his surgeon says his risk for type-two diabetes has disappeared.
"I recommend it to anybody who's my size, or even not as big," Baltazar said. "If you can do it, go for it. Because it will change your life for the best."