Weight Loss Surgery and Diabetes Remission
Remission is a strong word. With some treatments, people living with type 2 diabetes can bring their diabetes into remission, or in other words, cure it for a number of years. Weight loss surgery is a powerful therapy that can help bring type 2 diabetes into remission.
In a recent study conducted at Monash University, in Melbourne, Australia, more than 70 percent of diabetic participants who had weight loss surgery achieved diabetes remission two years after the procedure.
Patients in the study who used conventional diabetes management brought diabetes into remission less than 15 percent of the time. While exercise, medication, insulin, and proper diet reduced blood sugar substantially, it did not produce remission in the majority of patients.
“This study shows the powerful effect of significant weight loss in providing excellent glycemic control,” said lead author John Dixon, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., of Monash University, in an e-mail to My Diabetes Information. “Only surgery can reliably provide this weight loss.”
Dixon also pointed to the positive long-term results from the Swedish Obese Subjects Study. A significant number of patients who underwent weight loss surgery were able to manage a healthy weight for 10 years.
The results from the most recent study are published in the January 23 issue of Journal of American Medical Association. Over two years, Dixon and colleagues compared surgically induced weight loss with conventional type 2 diabetes therapy in 60 obese participants. Patients were randomized to receive either conventional diabetes therapy with a focus on weight loss by lifestyle change or laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding with conventional diabetes care. Of the 60 patients enrolled, 55 (92 percent) completed the 2-year follow-up.
The researchers found that remission of type 2 diabetes was achieved by 22 of 30 (73 percent) of patients receiving the surgery and 4 of 30 (13 percent) participating in conventional therapy.
“After two years, the surgical group displayed a five times higher remission rate and four times greater reduction in hemoglobin A1C values than the conventional-therapy group,” the authors wrote.
Neither the patients having surgery nor the patients using traditional diabetes care had serious complications during the clinical trial.