According to a new study, obese patients who have weight loss surgery may see their diabetes improve, however few studies have looked at whether it stops the development of. However this new study suggests that bariatric surgery can actually help prevent the disease from developing at all. Experts say the data in the study however doesn’t show a definitive answer.
The study shows that obese patients who had bariatric surgery were less likely to develop adult onset (Type II) diabetes compared to other patients who didn’t elect to have surgery.
The study’s lead researcher Martin Gulliford from King’s College in London and other colleagues used the electronic health records from the U.K. Clinical Practice Research Datalink in order to compare nearly 2,167 obese adults without diabetes who had weight loss surgery. They compared these patients with another 2,167 patients who had similar age, sex, body mass index ratings or blood glucose control results who didn’t have surgery or opt for any bariatric surgery treatment option.
The patients in the surgery group had gastric bypass surgery, gastric sleeve surgery or laparoscopic gastric banding. The patients were followed for about 3 years post-surgery. During the time they were studies 38 people who had surgery developed Type II Diabetes compared to 177 people in the control group who didn’t have surgery. This means that there was an 80% lower risk of developing it for surgery patients. This even resulted after the researchers took into account these patients blood pressure readings, cholesterol readings and whether or not they smoked.
Gulliford says that the studies shows that bariatric surgery can help reduce the risk of diabetes as well as reduce the adverse effects of severe obesity on the body as a whole.
However it’s important to understand that there are many questions still unanswered and more evidence is needed in order to convince medical professionals on the nature of the effect of surgery on patients.
Dr. Jacques Himpens from Saint Pierre University Hospital in Brussels, Belgium says that the conclusion makes sense overall, but he thinks that the researchers chose two groups that weren’t comparable. “One group wasn’t being treated, just watched without medication or lifestyle changes and was compared to those with an active treatment of surgery.”
He also is concerned about the short length of time the patients were studied because typically weight loss surgery patients do gain weight back years later. According to Himpens, many patients skip the follow up care after their surgery and return up to 10 years later. This is after they neglected their diet, didn’t exercise and have regained most or all of their weight.
Ultimately this study shows that when people keep their weight down, they don’t develop or have a lower risk of developing diabetes as well as other obesity-related medical conditions. The message overall is that bariatric surgery can have a positive effect on patient’s lives, but patients must remain under medical care for the best result.