Diabetes Can Be Surgically Cured, According to New Study

My Bariatric Life Health Guide
  • Diabetes can be Surgically Cured, According to New Study



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    I recently went to a new endocrinologist. He reviewed my health history and particularly was interested in my gastric bypass surgery. Allow me to explain the reason why.


    Back in 2002, I had been hospitalized and diagnosed with diabetes type 2. I was put on three prescription medications: two oral anti-diabetics and injected insulin. My diabetes was never well-controlled with medication, likely because I did not make the necessary lifestyle changes, such as healthy diet and exercise.


    Then in 2003 I underwent RNY gastric bypass surgery. Within two months I lost 50 lbs. and my diabetes went into remission. I’ve lost a total of 110 lbs. and my diabetes has been controlled with diet and exercise for more than a decade.

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    The endocrinologist told me that he informs all of his obese patients that bariatric surgery can put their diabetes into remission. I liked him instantly; many doctors will not suggest weight loss surgery to their patients. New research validates my endocrinologists’ clinical advice. Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic have published study results on the long-term metabolic effects of bariatric surgery in obese patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.


    See a summary of this research below.


    Can Diabetes be Surgically Cured? Long Term Metabolic Effects of Bariatric Surgery in Obese Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

    Stacy A Brethauer*, Ali Aminian*, Esam Batayyah*, Hector Romero-Talamas*, Hideharu Shimizu*, Andrea Zelisko*, Helen M Heneghan*, Bipan Chand*, Philip R Schauer Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH

    OBJECTIVE(S): Although the impressive anti-diabetic effects of bariatric surgery have been shown in short-term studies, its durability is unknown.

    METHODS: Metabolic parameters and clinical outcomes of 150 patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) who underwent bariatric surgery during 2004-2007 and had at least five-year follow-up were assessed. Complete remission was defined as glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) <6% and fasting glucose (FBG)<100 mg/dL off diabetic medications.

    RESULTS: At a median follow-up of 6 years (range 5-8) after surgery (Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, n=107; gastric banding, n=28; sleeve gastrectomy, n=15), a mean excess weight loss (EWL) of 43% was associated with a mean reduction in HbA1c and FBG of 1.1% and 43.6 mg/dL, respectively. Long-term complete and partial remission rate was 28% and 25%, respectively. Longer duration of T2D (p<0.001), higher preoperative HbA1c (p=0.001), surgeries other than bypass (p<0.001), and lower long-term EWL (p=0.001) predicted lack of complete remission. Long-term recurrence of T2D after initial remission occurred in 14 patients (16%) and was associated with less EWL (p=0.007). Remission/improvement rate for co-existing dyslipidemia and hypertension was 53% and 69%, respectively.

    CONCLUSIONS: Bariatric surgery can induce a significant and sustainable remission of T2D in obese patients and should be considered early in the course of the disease.

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    Final thoughts: If you struggle with diabetes and are overweight, you are not alone. More than half of Americans are overweight and roughly 12 million have severe obesity. Obesity is one of the most important factors for the development of type 2 diabetes. Recent studies have shown that bariatric surgery (also known as gastric bypass or weight-loss surgery) is not only an effective tool for treating obesity, but also for preventing, treating and even resolving diabetes in some cases, according to the Cleveland Clinic Bariatric and Metabolic Institute.


    Living life well-fed,

    My Bariatric Life


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    The Cleveland Clinic

    Cleveland Clinic Bariatric and Metabolic Institute


Published On: September 26, 2013