ST. CLOUD -- What was once a fairly rare disease has increasingly become more common.

The Center for Disease Control says 9.3 percent of the U.S. population has diabetes. With diabetes becoming more common some international diabetes organizations, such as the American Diabetes Association,  have pushed for weight-loss surgery to become a more common treatment option.

Medical Director of Bariatric Surgery at Centra Care Health System, Dr. Daniel Leslie says weight-loss surgery is an option for those who have diabetes or struggle with obesity but it isn't the first option your doctor will consider.

"Patients should always start with fixing diet, fixing how food is eaten, fixing the food supply at home and at work and have a healthy understanding of how to pick foods and how to eat them," says Leslie.

Leslie says he recommends using the "fork rule" to help a patient lose weight and avoid surgery.

"I ask patients to eat food with a fork, to pick up food with a fork and whatever they can't pick up with a fork they probably shouldn't be eating."

Diet along with regular exercise are commonly used as treatments for diabetes and obesity but sometimes weight-loss surgery is the best option for patients.

The gastric bypass surgery has been around for about 50 years and is still the most common weight-loss surgery but Leslie says a new surgery option, the sleeve gastrectomy has less side effects.

"The operation doesn't involve the intestines and so the likelihood of having problems with constipation, of abdominal pain with an unclear source, or problems with the bile ducts just don't happen as much with the sleeve gastrectomy."

Leslie says according to the National Institute of Health 9.9 percent of women and 5.5 percent of men in the U.S. have class 3 obesity which is severe enough to have weight-loss surgery.

-This story was written with information from the Associated Press-

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