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Which Weight Loss Surgery Procedure Benefits Diabetics the Most?

Tim Boyer's picture
Gastric bypass causes dibaetes remission

A new study reveals that diabetic patients who have a particular weight loss surgical procedure stand a significant chance of their diabetes going into remission.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in every 9 adults has diabetes―a debilitating medical condition where the body fails to be able to maintain blood sugar levels within normal ranges due to an inability to produce enough insulin. WHO estimates that by 2030 that diabetes will become the seventh leading cause of death, with many patients experiencing nerve damage, blindness, amputation of the extremities, heart disease and/or stroke.

Traditionally, diabetes is treated with diet, exercise and life-long medications. However, physicians and researchers are discovering that when diabetic patients who are obese undergo weight loss surgery that many of them not only lose a significant amount of body fat but also experience remission of their diabetic condition.

In a new study published in the medical journal JAMA Surgery, scientists decided to assess and compare the effect of different bariatric surgery procedures on diabetes remission among obese Type 2 diabetes patients.

Here is an NBC News report about the study:

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The study consisted of 569 obese patients with type 2 diabetes who had bariatric surgery and 1,881 similar diabetics as controls who didn’t have weight loss surgery. Analysis of the data not only looked at how many of surgical and control Type 2 diabetic patients experienced remission of their diabetes, but also categorized the data by the type of surgery used—gastric banding, gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy.

What the researchers found was that:

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• Patients with diabetes who underwent bariatric surgery had an 18-fold increased chance for T2DM remission compared with matched control non-surgery patients.

• More patients experienced remission of their diabetes with the gastric bypass procedure than with sleeve gastrectomy and gastric banding which followed 2nd and 3rd respectively with fewer remissions.

• During the first 2 years after bariatric surgery, body mass index, triglyceride, blood glucose, and hemoglobin A levels sharply decreased in all weight loss surgery patients.

In fact, these results are not surprising when you consider the potential for gastric bypass in treating diabetes was discussed back in 2012 on the TV show 60 minutes in this informative taping of the episode.

The researchers cautioned the public that this does not mean that having bariatric surgery will result in diabetes remission for those Type 2 diabetic patients who are not obese. Furthermore, that the benefits of weight loss surgery have to be weighed against the risks for each patient as some patients do not respond to weight loss surgery favorably.

However, in their conclusion, it is the opinion of the researchers that bariatric surgery― in particular, gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy―may be considered as new treatment options for obese patients with Type 2 diabetes.

For more information to help diabetic patients decide whether weight loss surgery is the right choice for them, here is an informative article titled “Bariatric Surgery vs Medical Treatment, Which Should Type 2 Diabetics Choose?” and a theory about why gastric bypass surgery really works.

Reference: “Remission of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Patients After Different Types of Bariatric Surgery: A Population-Based Cohort Study in the United KingdomJAMA Surgery Published online September 30, 2015; Jan Peter Yska, PharmD., et al.