Further Evidence that Weight Loss Surgery Improves Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes affects nearly 15 million people in the United States. Of these 15 million people, obesity is the most commonly cited factor in the development of the disease. Now, two new studies add to the mounting evidence that losing weight through bariatric surgery can improve blood sugar levels and resolve diabetes in many patients.

The most recent findings come from a study at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, which reveals that weight loss is strongly correlated with diabetes remission. Dr. Anita Courcoulas tracked 61 obese people with diabetes as they underwent either gastric bypass or gastric banding surgery. All participants had a body mass index (BMI) between 30 and 40. One year later, nearly half of the gastric bypass patients and 25 percent of the banding patients saw improvement in blood sugar levels. Some patients no longer required diabetes medication, while the control group saw no improvement. 

The latest study also confirms findings from long-term research led by Dr. Lars Sjostrom of Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden, published earlier this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association. In the Swedish study, 343 patients underwent one of three types of weight loss surgery, while a control group of 260 people did not have surgery. Two years later, 72 percent of surgery patients were in remission. Fifteen years following surgery, 30 percent were still free of diabetes. Results in the control group were negligible.

Both studies and numerous more indicate bariatric surgery as a reliable option to combat type II diabetes and other life-threatening conditions. Gastric bypass surgery is not only being considered as a weight loss solution, but as a viable treatment for high cholesterol, hypertension and other health conditions in clinically obese patients, as well. Although diet and exercise are certainly a good thing, studies continue to show results from gastric bypass surgery for diabetic patients far surpass those of lifestyle changes alone. 

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