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Obesity Surgery May Help Cure Type 2 Diabetes

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Obesity Surgery May Help Cure Type 2 Diabetes

Obesity Surgery May Help Cure Type 2 Diabetes

February 21, 2008
By: Dan Weiman for Diabetes1
 
An Australian study has revealed that type 2 diabetes can be pushed into remission by obesity surgery. This news is quite stunning, as type 2 diabetes has long been considered a chronic and progressive disease without a cure. Currently, people with type 2 diabetes have managed their condition through prescription treatments as well as by controlling their diet. However, the discovery that bariatric surgery may cure the condition could change treatment for many people.
Take Action
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases suggests the following tips for reducing the stress that often causes people to eat more than they want:
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Practice deep breathing and relaxing your muscles one at a time.
  • Take a break and go for a walk.
  • Take short stretch breaks throughout the day.
  • Try taking a yoga or tai chi class to energize yourself and reduce stress.
  • Try a new hobby.
  • Surround yourself with people whose company you enjoy.
  •  
    The study contrasted two groups of patients with type 2 diabetes: one group that received bariatric surgery and another that was treated with standard methods. Out of the 29 patients who received gastric band surgery, an alternative to gastric bypass which is more common in the United States, 22 saw their diabetes go into remission while losing an average of 46 pounds. Only four of the 26 in the standard treatment group went into remission, and weight loss was 3 pounds on average.
     
    While the results are encouraging, there is reason to remain cautious. The scope of the study was very small, so the results cannot necessarily be extrapolated to fit the entire population. Also, there is the cost, not just in money but in human life. Gastric bypass has a price tag of $20,000 to $30,000 dollars and 1 in every 50 people die from complications during surgery. Furthermore, the surgery can naturally only be performed on diabetic patients that are obese, thus denying treatment to a large group of non-obese patients.
     
    Type 2 diabetes has been on the rise in the U.S. largely due to the obesity epidemic which includes 32.9% of the national population. The link between type 2 diabetes and obesity is very strong, 55% of people with type 2 diabetes also are obese.
     
    One possible theory for the success of bariatric surgery in the study is that many of the patients had only been recently diagnosed with the condition. It is thought that such rapid weight loss and dramatic nutritional adjustment stopped the disease from progressing, and eventually sending it into remission. Although there is no definitive reason for the success of the surgery yet, it is clear that bariatric surgery could become a new form of treatment for type 2 diabetes.
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