The UK’s first large-scale study on the impact of weight loss surgery on obesity reports a large reduction in type-2 diabetes and other health problems. It also discovered that weight loss surgery reverses diabetes in some instances.
The National Bariatric Surgery Registry (NBSR) found the procedures to be safe. One-year after bariatric surgery, patients lost an average of nearly 60% of their excess weight. It was also found that weight loss surgery reverses diabetes by 50% for those patients who reported having diabetes before surgery. No indicators of the disease were found after surgery. The rate of reversal of diabetes after weight loss surgery rose to 86% after two years. There was also an improvement in all associated diseases.
The report included detailed follow up data for 1,421 operations carried out between April 1, 2008 and March 31, 2010. Three hundred and seventy-nine patients had type 2 diabetes before surgery. One year later the figure was 188.
Data from 86 hospitals showed that around two-thirds of severely obese patients have three or more associated diseases by the time they reach surgery. A third had high blood pressure, over a quarter had diabetes, and nearly a fifth had high cholesterol.
Weight Loss Surgery Reverses Diabetes
I had my gastric bypass surgery in August 2003. By that time, obesity had caused me to have type 2 diabetes, hypertension, acid reflux, and sleep apnea. I was on five prescription medicines for diabetes and hypertension, including insulin. I also was on medication for acid reflux.
Before my gastric bypass surgery, I was 285 pounds with a body mass index (BMI) of 46. I was in the 98th percentile, which meant that my weight was greater than 98% of the population. After gastric bypass surgery, my weight dropped to 185 pounds I achieved a BMI of 29. At the 57th percentile, I was overweight but healthy by comparison to my former self.
Diabetes cannot be cured and never really goes away. I have been medication-free since losing my excess weight, and my A1C tests (a blood test to determine blood control for patients with diabetes) are always normal. I have no indications for diabetes and am grateful that my weight loss surgery reversed diabetes. My hypertension, acid reflux, and sleep apnea were eliminated as well. I was restored to good health.
Medical Treatment for Obesity and Related Illnesses
According to the NBSR, the data show that bariatric surgery is safe. It successfully treats a range of diseases including the rapid resolution of diabetes. The cost of bariatric surgery, which includes gastric bypass and gastric bands, is recouped within three years as obesity associated costs are eliminated.
Obesity is the second-leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Every two minutes a person dies of weight-related causes, according to a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Given its known correlation to life-threatening co-morbid conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, heart disease, stroke, and premature death, obesity is a disease that clearly requires medical treatment.
Unfortunately, most conservative weight loss treatments are ineffective long term. A preponderance of data, published literature, and scientific research have found that diet and exercise are unsuccessful in 80-85 percent of overweight and obese patients at the one-year mark. This is according to articles in the International Journal of Obesity and the New England Journal of Medicine.
Weight loss surgery, including gastric bypass, gastric sleeve and gastric banding, are proving to play a critical role in providing an effective treatment option for obese patients with obesity related illnesses. Weight loss surgery is usually only suggested when more conservative weight loss therapies such as supervised diet, exercise and behavior modification fail.
Living larger than ever,
My Bariatric Life