A new study has come out that says people who have type 2 diabetes are more likely to see significant improvements if they get weight loss surgery, as opposed to just traditional lifestyle changes. The study suggested that the improvements are seen within three years, and this could be seen as a more effective option for some people who cannot manage to control diabetes through lifestyle-only changes.
The lead author of the study was Dr. Anita Courcoulas of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and she said that the important thing to remember is the durability of remission over time. Past studies have found that weight loss surgeries can sometimes help improve the health of people who have type 2 diabetes, but whether or not the surgery is better than lifestyle interventions has not really been seen. There have also been studies that have looked at the effectiveness of the weight loss surgery for people with diabetes or class 1 or class 2 obesity, which are the groups with a body mass index of between 30 and 39. The weight loss surgery is typically performed on people who have a body mass index of 40 or more, or someone who has other health conditions on top of a body mass index below 40.
When you look at the facts, there are about 29 million Americans, which is about 9 percent of the population in America, who is suffering from diabetes. About 30 percent of all diabetes are undiagnosed according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, which is also linked to obesity. Someone who has type 2 diabetes does not produce enough insulin within their body, which the cells need the glucose for energy. Sometimes the person might produce enough of the hormone insulin but the cells become resistant to it.
In this study, 61 people were examined who were between ages 25 to 55, and all had type 2 diabetes. Nearly half of the participants had class 1 obesity while the others were even heavier than that. The participants were randomly assigned one of three different treatments which were intensive lifestyle-only intervention for one year, then a lower-intensity lifestyle intervention with counseling for 2 years. The participants were also assigned to one out of the two different weight loss surgeries, which were Roux-en-Y gastric bypass or the laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding. The people who had these surgeries also got the low-intensity lifestyle intervention for two years. After three years, 40 percent of the people in the Roux-en-Y group went into remission with the diabetes, while 29 percent in the gastric banding saw remission, and 0 percent of participants in the lifestyle-only group saw a remission. There were 3 people in the first surgery group who had their diabetes disappear completely, with one in the banding group seeing their diabetes go away completely as well, and no one in the lifestyle-only group had this happen either.
The researchers also saw that the blood sugar totals were a lot better in the surgery groups over the lifestyle-only changes group, and the surgery groups were more likely to not need medication for diabetes. While this seems like great news, Courcoulas did caution people because this was a small group, which means more groups and participants will need to be followed for longer periods of time to ensure the results of the study hold. The researchers also say that surgeries are also risky, especially with the diabetes patients, due to the higher risks of infections. People who have diabetes need to be mostly controlled in order to have the least chance of an infection or other negative effect after the surgery, and for some people, lifestyle-only changes are really better. You cannot draw definitive results from this study until the groups have been studied for 10 to 20 years down the road, which will be next for this particular study. There is also the issue that you should not expect your diabetes to go away completely, since that only happened a few times, so it’s important not to get too excited over thinking the surgery will be the cure for diabetes. However, for the right patient, weight loss surgery is the best choice to live a more healthy lifestyle with type 2 diabetes.