Bariatric Surgery and Long-Term Diabetes Control

Type 2 diabetes may have finally met its match. A new study shows bariatric surgery is an effective treatment for type 2 diabetes, as many as three years after the procedure.

"We found that in the surgical patients you had much improvement in their blood sugar and reduced dependency on their medications," Dr. Phillip Schauer of the Cleveland Clinic said. "They had significant improvement in their overall quality of life, much more so, than folks who had medical treatment only."

Three years ago a team of researchers randomly placed 150 obese people into two groups: Intensive medical therapy or intensive medical therapy plus gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy. Results show three years later, those in the surgery group use fewer cardiovascular and glucose-lowering medications.

In fact, 90 percent of the people who had surgery are no longer taking insulin and many others are off all diabetic medications.

The surgery group also showed higher quality of life scores, improved cardiovascular risk factors, like cholesterol and blood pressure, and improved kidney function compared to those on medical therapy alone. It appears the benefits of the surgery far outweigh the risks.

"There are 22 million Americans with Type 2 diabetes and 80 percent of them are either overweight or obese and we know that obesity is a major factor in the development of this disease, so if we can control the body weight we can definitely improve the diabetes," said Schauer

Complete findings for this study are in the "New England Journal of Medicine."

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