Weight loss surgery 'could improve blood sugar levels in diabetics'

6 January 2012

Scientists have reassessed the effectiveness of weight loss surgery on tackling type 2 diabetes and found that although it is not a cure, it could significantly improve blood sugar levels.

Published in in the British Journal of Surgery, a study by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre awarded to Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Imperial College London showed that although previous studies have claimed that gastric band procedures cured up to 80 per cent of diabetes cases, less than half of cases can actually be completely ousted.

The study revisited data of 209 patients with type 2 diabetes and found that the remission rate was 41 per cent for gastric bypass, which has been named the most effective type of surgery for weight loss.

Leader of the study, Dr Carel le Roux from the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London, said: "Using the new criteria, we don't get such eye-catching figures as some that have been quoted in recent years. But it's clear that weight loss surgery, particularly gastric bypass, has a significant beneficial effect on glucose control."

According to the expert, 80 per cent of people who have type 2 diabetes worldwide are obese at the time of diagnosis. Many of those who had weight loss surgery suggested that their diabetes had improved even before any drastic loss had occurred.

According to the charity Diabetes UK, type 2 diabetes usually appears in people over the age of 40. However, people of South Asian and black heritage are at a greater risk and could experience the condition from an average age of 25.

Posted by Edward Bartel


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