Obese people who successfully have weight loss surgery dramatically decrease their chances of getting a range of serious diseases. We also know that having bariatric surgery can put type II diabetes into remission, ‘curing’ the patient of the disease. However, new research shows that losing weight significantly delays the onset of type II diabetes.
A Swedish study set to look at the effect of weight loss surgery on an individual’s chances of developing type II diabetes. Set up to compare the health benefits of weight loss surgery with the benefits of lifestyle changes and weight loss drugs, the study followed the health of 1658 obese volunteers who underwent weight loss surgery and a control group of 1771 obese people who were receiving normal (non-surgical) treatment over a period of fifteen years.
The results of the study showed that the people who had surgery had a 00.7% chance of getting type diabetes, whereas the non-surgical group had nearly a 3% chance. This means that the obese people who didn’t have surgery were more than four times more likely to get diabetes than those who had controlled their weight with the help of weight loss surgery, demonstrating that the benefits of weight loss surgery far outweigh the benefits of lifestyle changes and weight loss drugs in people who are very overweight and at high risk of obesity related diseases.
The improved outcome for the surgical patients over periods of 10 and 15 years came in spite of the fact that the 1658 people in the surgical group were heavier and at higher risk of obesity related disease than the control group.
While Body Mass Index (BMI) is a good general indicator of weight and potential for developing weight related diseases, the study, printed in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that a better indicator of who would develop type II diabetes was the levels of blood sugar taken before surgery, at the start of the study, gave a better indication of likelihood of developing the disease.
Overall, researchers say that the results of this study show that it is not just the most overweight individuals who would benefit from bariatric surgery. The results may help to demonstrate that some treatments work better for some patients. This could help surgeons to look at other risk factors, such as blood sugar levels, as well as BMI when deciding appropriate weight loss surgery to prevent life threatening illnesses, such as heart conditions, diabetes, stroke and cancer.
With diabetes being prevented in ten out of 13 people who have weight loss surgery, this is another compelling study that shows, sometimes, surgery is something that we can’t afford not to have.
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