Weight-Loss Surgery: A Cure for Diabetes?

Bariatric Surgery:  A cure for Type 2 Diabetes?There’s no denying it; studies show a strong link between obesity and type 2 diabetes. If you knew that your diabetes symptoms would be gone afterward, would you have weight-loss surgery? An interesting study on the subject (published in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal) has been conducted in the United Kingdom, the results of which we’d like to share with you.

A Surprising Side Effect of Bariatric Surgery

In the study, nearly 5,000 people were tracked to determine their overall health after having weight-loss (bariatric) surgery. In the study, 2,167 clinically obese adults had bariatric surgery, and 2,167 clinically obese adults continued without the surgery. There was a shocking 80% reduction in type 2 diabetes in those who had the surgery. Specifically, there were 38 cases of diabetes after the surgery, as opposed to 177 cases in those without the surgery.

As in the United States, in the U.K., bariatric surgery is used as a last resort to treat people who are suffering from dangerous effects of obesity. The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence is considering a huge expansion of obesity surgery in the NHS in order to cut rates of type 2 diabetes.

Types of Bariatric Surgery

There are several types of weight-loss surgery, but the most common are gastric band and gastric bypass surgery. In gastric band surgery, band is placed to reduce the size of the stomach. This allows a very small amount of food to make the patient feel full. In gastric bypass surgery, the digestive system is actually routed past most of the stomach; this means less food is digested although the patient feels full.

Would the Surgery be ‘Worth It’?

In England, about 25% of adults are categorized as obese. Here in the United States, that number is much larger: nearly 35% of American adults are considered obese. There are inherent expenses to the health complications of obesity: higher rates of diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, and stroke.

Still, this is not a recommendation to rush out and get surgery. Professor Martin Gullford of King’s College London, states, “The key thing would be not only how effective is weight loss surgery, but how safe is it in the long-term?” Simon O’Neill, the director of health intelligence at Diabetes UK, agrees: “This is interesting research that reinforces what we already know about weight loss being important for both preventing and managing type 2 diabetes. But it must be remembered that surgery carries risks and so bariatric surgery should only be considered if serious attempts to lose weight have been unsuccessful.”

What do you think? In order to prevent the health risks of obesity-related disease, would surgery be worth it to you? We invite you to comment below.

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