New Studies Show Weight Loss Surgery May Help Diabetes Patients

Two new studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine show that weight loss surgery may eliminate the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes. Surprisingly, many of the patients who participated in these studies showed improvement of their symptoms within weeks or even days following weight loss surgery.

“It’s pretty amazing,” said Dr. Phil Schauer.

Dr. Schauer of the Cleveland Clinic led one of the studies. In his study 150 patients with diabetes were divided into three distinct groups. One third received top-quality drug therapy, the second underwent gastric banding surgery, and the third underwent the gastric bypass operation. The goal of the therapies was to get patients’ blood sugar levels below the normal level of 6 per cent. 42 per cent of the gastric bypass patients reached this goal one year after surgery compared to 37 per cent of the gastric banding patients and 12 per cent of the patients on the drug therapy.

At the beginning of the Cleveland Clinic study, many of the patients were taking three or more medications to control their Diabetes. A year after their operation, almost none of the gastric bypass patients required medication. Obesity is a disease that puts a person at greater risk for diabetes and a number of other comorbidities.

The second study was conducted by the Catholic University of Rome and the Weill Cornell Medical College. This study followed 60 patients, with one third of the patients receiving drug therapy, the second undergoing gastric bypass, and the third undergoing bilopancreatic diversions. The bilopancreatic diversion is a malabsorptive weight loss procedure, like the gastric bypass operation, that may result in lifelong nutritional deficiencies.

Gastric banding is a restrictive procedure that limits the amount of food a patient can consume by creating a small stomach pouch, or stoma, above the gastric band. Unlike the gastric bypass, gastric banding is completely reversible and does not result in nutritional deficiencies.

After two years 75 per cent of the gastric bypass patients and 95 per cent of the patients who underwent the bilopancreatic diversion saw their blood sugar levels return to normal. The authors of the study say these patients have achieved, “complete diabetes remission.”

Unmanaged diabetes may result in serious health risks, including heart disease, kidney disease, and loss of vision.

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