Diabetes can be helped or even resolved via weight-loss surgery — a step sometimes considered drastic but the best course of action to fight obesity — but experts warn that the condition reoccurs in about 20% of weight-loss surgery patients within a three to five year window after surgery.
Researchers examining diabetes reoccurrence at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona looked at 72 people who had undergone a a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure between 2000 and 2007. Patients who participated in the study received three years of follow-up visits to measure their progress, and all had Type 2 diabetes before their surgery.
Sixty-six of the 72 patients in the study experienced a reversal of diabetes in the months after they underwent the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. But of the 66 patients, 14 once again developed diabetes at some point during their half-decade of follow-up visits.
One of the factors researchers observed was that the longer a patient had diabetes prior to their surgery, the more likely they were to be diagnosed with diabetes again after an initial resolution of diabetes symptoms.
In patients who were diabetic for more than five years prior to their weight-loss surgery, the condition was 3.8 times more likely to return than among those who did not have diabetes for as long.
Of the findings regarding reoccurrence of diabetes, lead author Dr. Yessica Ramos explained in a news release:
“Providers and patients need to be aware of this information, to have a better idea of the expected outcome and be able to make an informed decision about pursuing gastric bypass surgery.”
The findings on diabetes and weight-loss surgery were presented at a meeting of the Endocrine Society in Houston, and have not yet been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.