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  • Steven Reinberg
  • Posted December 2, 2020

Weight-Loss Surgery Often Rids Patients of Type 2 Diabetes

Weight-loss surgery conquers type 2 diabetes in more than 50% of patients who have the procedure, new research shows.

So-called bariatric surgery helps severely obese people shed weight and improve their health. Two types of weight-loss surgery are lap band surgery (in which a band around the top of the stomach creates a pouch that can only hold a small amount of food) and gastric bypass. The bypass surgery reduces stomach size, causes hormonal changes and can lower the amount of nutrients absorbed from food.

"If a patient with type 2 diabetes is considering weight-loss surgery, choosing gastric bypass soon after diagnosis can increase their chance of remission or achieving a blood sugar level that does not need treatment," said study author Dr. Jonathan Purnell. He's a professor of medicine at Oregon Health & Science University, in Portland.

"Our large study confirms the importance of weight loss on inducing diabetes remission, but also finds gastric bypass has benefits independent of weight. If we can understand what these benefits are, it could lead to new diabetes treatments," he said in a news release from the Endocrine Society.

For the study, Purnell's team collected data on nearly 2,300 severely obese adults who had weight-loss surgery. About 35% had type 2 diabetes.

In all, 57% of those with diabetes who had a gastric bypass saw their diabetes disappear, as did 22% of those who had lap band surgery.

Remission was more common in younger patients and those who had diabetes for a shorter time before their procedure, the study authors noted.

A greater likelihood of diabetes remission was seen after gastric bypass surgery whether or not people lost weight, suggesting that mechanisms beyond weight loss contribute to improved blood sugar, the researchers said.

The findings were published online recently in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

More information

To learn more about weight loss surgery, visit the American Society for Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery.

SOURCE: Endocrine Society, news release, Nov. 30, 2020

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