While doctors would often recommend obese and overweight people to lose weight by adopting a healthy diet and getting physically active, some individuals just have difficulty losing weight which is why some doctors recommend bariatric surgery, a weight loss procedure that entails the removal of some parts of the stomach and small intestines to restrict food intake.
For many patients, bariatric surgery helps them shed extra weight but it appears that people who undergo bariatric surgery do not just benefit from it by losing weight. Findings of a new study suggest that the weight loss surgery can even ease symptoms of Type 2 diabetes.
In a new study presented at the American College of Cardiology scientific meeting in Washington Monday and published in the New England Journal of Medicine March 31, researchers followed 150 overweight and mildly obese individuals with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes and divided them into three groups.
The subjects in the first group treated their diabetes with medication and lifestyle changes. Those in the second group had gastric bypass surgery, a weight loss surgical procedure, on top of medication and lifestyle changes while participants in the third group had sleeve gasterctomy, a type of weight loss surgery that reduces the size of the stomach to about a fourth of its original size.
After three years, the researchers found that most of the subjects who underwent weight loss surgery no longer need diabetes medication.
"One-third [of patients] in the gastric bypass group had remission of diabetes -- meaning they had normal blood sugar control -- and a quarter of the people in the sleeve gastrectomy group had remission of type 2 diabetes," said study author Sangeeta Kashyap, an endocrinologist at the Cleveland Clinic's Endocrinology & Metabolism Institute. "These effects are real, and they're persistent for at least three years. Essentially, these patients have had a vacation from diabetes for three years."
Obesity is one of the leading risk factors of Type 2 diabetes, a common albeit deadly disease that affects 347 million people worldwide.
"Initially, we thought diabetes was a disease you could not reverse or end. We do realize now that there may be a treatment that could end diabetes for some people and that's exciting," Kashyap said.