Yet the patients in the research who only had medication for their treatment were not recently diagnosed patients, and Dr. Vivian Fonseca, the president of the division of Medicine and Science with the American Diabetes Association, noted that it would have been more useful to find out how newly diagnosed patients reacted to the medications compared to the weight loss surgery candidates.
“They selected people who were already obviously not doing well on medication therapy, so it’s an unrealistic expectation that the medication therapy is going to be able to stop after a while,” said Fonseca. “It would have been better to see newly diagnosed patients who seemed to be doing well on medications.”
The Italian study comes just after two studies published last month that found that weight loss surgery lowers blood sugar levels almost immediately in people with type 2 diabetes, even before they lost any weight. One study found 42 percent of patients who received the gastric procedure displayed no evidence of diabetes after one year, compared to 12 percent who had the usual diabetes medication.
The American Diabetes Association reports that there are 25.8 million adults and children in the United States coping with diabetes at present. And 1.9 million new diagnoses of diabetes were made in people 20 and older in 2010.
The ADA estimates that by 2020, the annual cost in treating diabetic patients will approach $192 billion. A typical weight loss surgery costs between $10,000 and $15,000 in the United States, and $5,000 to $10,000 at Angeles Health in Mexico.
Just 2 percent of diabetes patients are currently treated with weight loss surgeries.
Read Weight Loss Surgery Reduces Type 2 Diabetes Part 2 for more information.