A year-long study regarding the connection between weight loss surgery and curing type 2 diabetes was released this week. The study showed that surgery seemed to be more effective than lifestyle change and medication for treating the disease. However, the tradeoff was that those who had the surgery were at a very common risk for complications. Is this just a one step forward and one step back scenario?
The Associated Press reported that a new publication in the Journal of the American Medical Association is stating that gastric bypass surgery can effectively treat type 2 diabetes in patients with mild to moderate obesity. This means people who are about 50 to 70 pounds overweight.
While the glowing light of the words “treatment for diabetes” seems impressive, it was also stated that of those in the study who received surgery, a third of them developed serious problems during the first year after surgery. The typical complications include infections, intestinal blockage, and bleeding. And then there was a much smaller percentage who experienced much more severe complications.
Other stats were favorable among those in the study who had surgery versus those who took on a lifestyle change and used meds. The surgery group still had better numbers with weight loss, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Those in the surgery group also reported less medication use after the procedure than those eating right and exercising. Bear in mind though, one of the worst complications of those in the surgery group involved an infection that led to an amputation.
As one researcher stated, the best treatment for people who are obese and have diabetes still “remains unknown.” That seems to be the underlying takeaway. While the numbers seem great when evaluating gastric bypass, the details still seem a bit risky.
More than 20 million Americans fall into the category of having type 2 diabetes and most of them are overweight or obese. This is a huge problem with no quick fix. Even if surgery emerges as the best treatment, can most people afford such an expense? Would most people take on the risks?
If at all possible it seems the best cure is to prevent the disease from ever happening. Eat right, exercise, and keep your weight under control. These still seem to be the pillars of warding off most illness and disease.
June 10th, 2013