Is Weight Loss Surgery the Solution to Diabetes?
According to two different recent studies, bariatric surgery has worked more successfully than the standard treatment of Type 2 Diabetes in overweight and obese people who had uncontrolled blood sugar. So is weight loss surgery the solution to diabetes?
Those who endured weight loss surgery, where the stomach was stapled and rerouted through the small intestine, were more likely to have complete remission of the disease or need more medicine. This was more prominent than those who were given the typical diet, exercise, and prescription medication treatment option. The surgery also showed improvements in high blood pressure and cholesterol placing patients in a more normal and safe range.
These two studies which were published in March 2013 in the New England Journal of Medicine were the first one to work to compare intensive medical treatment with certain weight loss treatments as a way to control diabetes. Doctors have shown improvements in the disease in regards to weight loss surgery procedures. They believe in some cases that it can help to get rid of Type 2 Diabetes while other more randomized controlled studies scrutinize these findings of having better blood sugar control versus medications.
Experts believe that the rising epidemic of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes is widely recognized as the most challenging public health issue. Type 2 Diabetes itself is becoming a fast epidemic and more cases are being reported each and every year. It causes high blood sugar which is closely related to obesity and often can become very difficult to manage. It has shown life-threatening complications such as kidney failure, poor wound healing, stroke, blindness, gangrene, and amputation.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of diabetes cases in the United States has tripled in the past 30 years to over 20 million. Most of these cases are Type 2, which are closely related to being overweight and obesity.
The issue comes with the case of whether this surgery with all of its risks and complications should be the widely used treatment options for those with Type 2 Diabetes. Many surgeons are pushing for this as a treatment option used regularly while others believe that more research is needed to be sure.
Many researchers have said that the operations used within this study will help control diabetes not just to help them to lose weight, but because the changes in their anatomy change their hormone levels that are responsible for the metabolism of fats and sugars in the body.
One study was conducted at the Catholic University in Rome. It looked at two different types of the surgery with usual medical treatment. After two years, the groups studied showed remission rates of 75% and 95% while there were no remissions in those that received just medical treatment.
The other study from the Cleveland Clinic looked at two different types of surgery with intensive medical routine. One year after surgery the remission rates were much lower than the Italian study at just 47% and 37%. However, the intensive medical treatment option showed 12% remission, unlike the other study.
More large-scale studies need to be administered to determine whether the surgery does, in fact, help diabetes patients who were not obese or just the patients that are heavy.