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New Studies Question Effectiveness Of Diabetes Surgery

W.L. Meyers | December 5th, 2012

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A new study published in the journal Obesity Surgery finds that weight loss surgery may not be as effective in combating type 2 diabetes as had been thought. The study rebukes prior conceptions that weight loss surgery offers a superior diabetes treatment than medications, or dieting and exercise.

Additionally, another study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation comparing gastric bypass surgery to gastric banding shows that gastric bypass was not more effective in treating diabetes, as previous theories had suggested. Patients who had gastric banding showed identical levels of improvement in the secretion of insulin and the ability to dispose glucose.

Gastric bypass and diabetes management

Many experts in the medical community view gastric surgery a last resort in treating diabetes, to be used only if diet and exercise fail to manage or reverse symptoms of the disease. The physicians at The Center for Medical Weight Loss, for instance, recommend that diabetes patients achieve safe weight loss through a balanced program of portion control, healthy diabetic diet, and exercise.

“We see diabetic patients all the time who lose weight and no longer need insulin,” reports Dr. Michael Kaplan, founder of The Center For Medical Weight Loss. “When patients lose 5% – 10% of their body weight, it is a given that they will reduce their blood sugar significantly; many no longer need medication.”

Previous diabetic diet studies questioned

Although prior evidence showed a link between gastric bypass and diabetes management, the results of the Obesity Surgery study show that many type 2 diabetes patients who undergo the procedure do not experience diabetes remission at all, and for those who do, about one third redevelop diabetes within five years of the operation. It also showed that even for people whose diabetes disappeared after they underwent the surgery, there was a risk that it would return. This was true regardless of whether the patient actually gained weight again, which is common problem for people who opt for weight loss surgery.

Earlier this year, two studies showed that weight loss surgery worked better than alternative treatments to help eliminate diabetes. However, those studies were small and limited to a relatively brief timespan. The newest study tracked information from thousands of diabetics who underwent gastric bypass, and did so over the course of a decade.

The findings of the new study suggest that diabetes surgery may be most effective for those whose disease is in the early stages. For others, pursuing healthy weight loss strategies based on diet and exercise can help to limit the effects of the disease, or in many cases help in reversing diabetes completely.

Diabetes surgery vs. diet and exercise

The doctors at The Center For Medical Weight Loss are experts in providing techniques for helping their patients to achieve fast weight loss. They have helped author thousands of successful weight loss stories, and are available to answer your questions about the health benefits and safety risks of gastric bypass. However, they can also tailor a weight loss plan to fit your lifestyle and medical history.

For more information, enter your zip code in the box above to find out if one of the 450 locations is in your area. The Center’s physicians are available to help you start losing weight with a safe and effective diabetes diet. Special offers are available for first-time visitors at select locations.