Bariatric Surgery has Potential to Prevent Diabetes

September 14, 2012

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition in which there are high levels of sugar in the blood stream. More than 25 million people in the United States have type 2 diabetes. Moreover, another estimated 40 million Americans have pre-diabetes and are at risk of developing the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While genetics play a role in developing diabetes, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are the biggest risk factors that are controllable. People who may be at risk for diabetes are often advised to watch their weight, change their diet, and to be more physically active. For people struggling with severe obesity, however, these recommendations are often difficult to achieve and sustain.

In a recent study, researchers looked at what effect weight loss surgery has on the potential for developing diabetes in the future, if the patient did not have diabetes at the time of surgery. They found that the risk of developing diabetes was about one in 35 per year in a group of obese patients receiving standard counseling about the importance of eating well and exercising. The same study found that patients who underwent weight loss surgery had a risk of just one in 150 per year. The study's key finding was that obese people who undergo bariatric surgery are four times less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Previous research had shown that weight loss surgery is superior in treating obese patients with diabetes, but this is the first large study to show that bariatric surgery may actually have preventative properties as well. The findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

You can learn more about the options, benefits and risks of weight surgery procedures, such as the lap band, gastric bypass, and gastric sleeve, or by registering to attend a free informational session.