Dieting Study: Weight Loss Surgery May Offer New Diabetes Treatment

A new study shows weight loss surgery may help those with diabetes get the disease under control.

According to the study, done by the American College of Cardiology, roughly 80 percent of the 23 million American adults living with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. The weight loss surgery results in fewer medications needed to treat diabetes after one year.

How the surgery helps

Patients undergoing one of two stomach-reducing procedures, either laparoscopic gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy, in addition to medical therapy were three to four times more likely to achieve glycemic control after one year of treatment compared to those who only received intensive medical therapy.

“For about a century, we have been treating diabetes with pills and injections and this is one of the first studies to show that surgical therapy may, at least in some patients, be much more effective than the polypharmacy approach to treating this disease,” said Philip Schauer, MD, professor of surgery, director of the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, Cleveland Clinic, and the study’s lead investigator.

“It’s a potential paradigm change. In patients with moderate to severe diabetes, medication therapy alone can only get them so far; they are often still well above the target of good glycemic control.”

Schauer adds, “Even though patients were given very intensive treatment, including new drugs, the surgical therapies were still superior. The improvement in patients undergoing surgery was so rapid that many were able to come off of their medications before leaving the hospital.”

Know the risks

While weight loss surgery may provide relief for some people, it is a discussion patients should have with their doctor. To begin research, check out this article, “Is Weight Loss Surgery Right For You?

The surgery is not without risks. Short-term dehydration and bleeding did occur. Additional studies are needed to confirm these results.

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