Obesity Action Coalition Dear Doctor Can Bariatric Surgery Treat Type 2 Diabetes?
Dear Doctor -Can Bariatric Surgery Treat Type 2 Diabetes?
Answer provided by Lloyd Stegemann, MD, FASMBS
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Diabetes is a devastating problem worldwide. It has been estimated that as much as 8.3 percent of the worlds population has diabetes and this number is on the rise. As your weight goes up, so does your risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D). In fact, almost 25 percent of individuals who are affected by severe obesity (body mass index greater than 35) will carry a diagnosis of T2D. Uncontrolled diabetes leads to a host of long-term problems including heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, blindness and the need for amputations.
For many years, bariatric surgeons have known that bariatric surgery has a profound effect on T2D. It is not uncommon for our T2D patients to come off of all of their diabetic medications after bariatric surgery. Many primary care physicians (PCP), however, have been reluctant to advise bariatric surgery as the first line of treatment for their patients affected by severe obesity with T2D because of the lack of quality studies comparing the effectiveness of medical therapy versus surgical therapy for the treatment of T2D. Two recent studies that appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine were designed to help answer this question.
In the first study, known as the STAMPEDE trial, 150 poorly controlled diabetic patients were divided randomly and equally into three groups. All of the patients in the study received intensive medical therapy including lifestyle counseling, weight managem Continue reading