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Diabetes Health Center

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Weight-Loss Surgery for Obese People With Diabetes

Those who had gastric bypass dropped the most weight, some saw their type 2 diabetes disappear, studies found

WebMD News from HealthDay

By E.J. Mundell

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, June 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Compared to diet and lifestyle changes, gastric bypass surgery appears to be the clear winner in helping obese people with type 2 diabetes lose weight and even rid themselves of the disease, new studies show.

The findings "further confirm that gastric bypass is the most effective way of treating type 2 diabetes in obese patients, and that surgery is superior to medical treatment for the disease in terms of blood sugar control," said Dr. Subhash Kini, a bariatric surgeon and associate professor of surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine and The Mount Sinai Hospital, in New York City. He was not involved in the two new studies.

The findings were published June 4 in JAMA Surgery.

As obesity rates in the United States continue to rise, so do rates of obesity-linked type 2 diabetes. For years, improved diet, lifestyle changes and certain weight-loss medications were thought to be the only way to help obese diabetics slim down. However, the advent of weight-loss surgeries such as gastric bypass and the gastric banding procedure have brought new treatments to the fore.

In one of the new studies, researchers led by Dr. Anita Courcoulas, of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, tracked outcomes for 69 obese or very obese patients who were assigned to receive either gastric bypass, gastric banding, or a traditional lifestyle-change intervention.

They report that people who underwent gastric bypass had an average 27 percent drop in their weight, compared to a 17.3 percent weight loss for those who got gastric banding, and about a 10 percent loss for those who tried diet/exercise changes.

The results were similar when it came to diabetes: One year after the intervention, 50 percent of the gastric bypass patients saw their type 2 diabetes partially ease and 17 percent saw it completely disappear, compared to 27 percent and 23 percent, respectively, for those who got the banding treatment.

None of the patients on the lifestyle-change regimen saw any remission of their diabetes, the study authors noted.

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