For Blood Sugar Control, Gastric Band or Weight Management Techniques Offer Similar Outcomes

Controlling blood sugar with type 2 diabetes often involves some type of weight loss or weight management approach.

Doctors sometimes recommend procedures - like gastric band surgery - to help with weight control, but a new study suggests that intensive weight-management programs can be as effective as going under the knife when it comes to blood sugar control and other health outcomes. Researchers from Joslin Diabetes Center and Brigham and Women's Hospital found that both approaches achieved similar outcomes in people with type 2 diabetes after one year.

"It's really important to have a variety of different approaches available to treat a complex medical problem like diabetes, and we need to understand the relative merits of each approach," said Dr. Allison Goldfine, study leader. "There are people for whom remembering to take their medications is highly problematic, and there are people for whom the idea of surgical risk is unbearable. One size does not fit all."

Long-term behavioral changes

Participants in the study were divided into two groups: one received an adjustable gastric band surgical procedure (where a band is fastened around the upper stomach that makes a person feel full much faster after eating) and the other partook in an intensive weight-management program.

After 12 months, blood sugar improvements were similar between both groups and cardiovascular health markers were also comparable.

Weight loss was similar in both groups until around three months, but the gastric-band group lost more weight than the other group in the long run.

Participants in both groups, however, reported they were experiencing a better quality of life and improved health.

"We can anticipate long-term health benefits from both of these approaches, but they do require some investment of time and energy by the patient," Dr. Goldfine said.

The study is published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Source: Joslin Diabetes Center
Photo courtesy of Praisaeng/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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