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Weight loss surgery puts type 2 diabetes into remission for up to five years

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A type of bariatric (weight loss) surgery can put type 2 diabetes into remission for up to five years, a new study reports.

The Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RYGB) procedure involves decreasing the size of the stomach and bypassing the top section of the small intestine. It has previously shown to enable type 2 diabetes remission, but not all people achieve this long-term.

In this Danish trial, more than 1,000 obese people with type 2 diabetes underwent the weight loss surgery between 2006-2015. The outcomes were compared with another 1,000 people with type 2 diabetes who did not have the surgery.

The results showed that 74% of participants experienced type 2 diabetes remission one year after the procedure. Of those, 27% had relapsed after 5 years.

During the five years of follow-up, the risk of microvascular complications (such as retinopathy, nephropathy and neuropathy) was 47% lower within the surgery group. The risk of risk of macrovascular complications, such as heart disease and stroke, was 24% lower in the surgery group.

Around 7.5% of people who received the surgery were readmitted to hospital in the first month due to complications of the surgery.

The researchers, who were led by Dr Lene Madsen, from the Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, said: “The findings from this study add to the growing body of evidence on effects of bariatric surgery, specifying that RYGB does cause remission of type 2 diabetes and is associated with a reduced risk of microvascular, and possibly macrovascular complications.

“Predictors of remission success seem to be very consistent in randomised controlled trials, studies of selected cohorts and population-based studies. On the other hand, there is a substantial risk of relapsing into type 2 diabetes, which should be accounted for when advising patients and planning post-surgery care.”

The findings have been published in the Diabetologia journal.

Editor’s note: Weight loss surgery is generally considered an extreme measure and is associated with a number of risks. People with type 2 diabetes are able to put type 2 diabetes into remission by eating a healthy diet, and our Low Carb Program shows how a low carb lifestyle can sustain long-term health benefits without the need for surgery.



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