Weight Loss Surgery Could Benefit Patients With Diabetes, Researchers Find

Weight loss surgery could benefit obese patients with type 2 diabetes, reveals research from several of the world’s top hospitals and universities, WebMD reports. According to the studies, overweight patients with type 2 diabetes may experience greater health benefits after undergoing weight loss surgery than obese patients who do not have diabetes, including greater savings on future healthcare costs.

While most healthcare companies still use only a patient’s body mass index (BMI) to determine if he or she is a good candidate for weight loss surgery, researcher Dr. Lena Carlsson from Sweden’s University of Gothenburg says patients who have been recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes could reap additional long-term benefits.

“In obese patients with type 2 diabetes, the costs of bariatric surgery are largely offset by prevention of future health care and drug use.”

Although it’s still too soon to determine whether mildly obese people with diabetes will live longer due to weight loss surgery, a new study in JAMA Surgery reveals the benefits could last as long as five years after the operation. Dr. Robin Blackstone, a weight loss surgery expert who wrote a lengthy editorial on the study told Fox News that, while mortality data takes a long time to collect, the sooner patients and providers start to take obesity seriously, the better the long-term results will be.

“I think we wait too long to get people to be serious about this. I think that once they’ve accumulated these genetic changes that hardwired their bodies into obesity and diabetes, reversing that is really hard.”

Another study found that weight loss surgery can also help people reverse their type 2 diabetes, which can significantly improve the quality of life for patients and reduce the need to take medication, along with other costs associated with long term care, making the overall health and savings benefits even more apparent. Dr. Mitchell Roslin, chief of obesity surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City and who was not involved in the study, told WebMD he agrees with the findings.

“What they are saying is, we should use functional markers to determine who gets bariatric surgery and BMI is not the best one to use.”

Diabetes is a condition characterized by abnormal blood sugar levels and that is often linked to obesity. Weight loss surgery is most likely to be recommended for people who are critically overweight and unable to slim down through basic lifestyle changes and medication. According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, the most common weight loss bariatric procedures are the adjustable gastric band, biliopancreatic diversion, gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy.

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