Bariatric surgery may help reverse diabetes for good

Research presented at the American Surgical Association meeting last week revealed that bariatric surgery — the process of using a gastric band or reducing stomach size to help people lose weight — may help patients keep type 2 diabetes at bay for good.

A study from researchers at the Cleveland clinic found that 50 percent of diabetic patients who had achieved remission after bariatric surgery still had partial or no symptoms of the disease six years later.

Complete remission was defined as having a fasting blood glucose level between 100 and 125 mg/dL for at least a year without medication and A1c levels below 6 percent. Twenty-six percent of the 217 patients in the study achieved this target, and 27 percent of those who achieved a complete remission were able to maintain it longer than five years.

Gastric bypass shows best results

Dr. Stacy Brethauer of the Cleveland Clinic says that the results of long-term remission were most pronounced in patients who had undergone gastric bypass surgery as opposed to gastric banding or sleeve gastrectomy.

Currently, only patients with a BMI higher than 40 qualify for bariatric surgery based on weight alone. Some organizations are advocating that diabetic patients with a BMI between 35 and 40 should be candidates for the procedure.

"We feel that the benefits outweigh the risks for the majority of patients, but I think at this point many still consider it investigational," Brethauer told MedPage Today.

Source: MedPage Today

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