Weight loss surgery could be the most effective form of treatment for Type 2 diabetes in obese patients, a new study has found.
In the past decade, cases of Type 2 diabetes have increased by 60%. Meanwhile roughly 60% of adults and 30% of children are obese or overweight.
What's more, around 7,000 people per year in the UK are having diabetes-related amputations, most of which are below the ankle. This equates to a staggering 135 each week, says Diabetes UK.
In the new study analysing the prolonged benefits of weight loss surgery, diabetic patients aged 30-60 were randomly assigned to have standard medical treatment for Type 2 diabetes or weight loss surgery in the form of either a gastric bypass (shrinking the size of the stomach and rerouting the upper part of the small intestine) or biliopancreatic diversion (a more extensive bypassing of the intestine).
The study found that 50% of patients who had weight loss surgery - from either gastric bypass or biliopancreatic diversion - had maintained diabetes remission for at least five years, compared with none of the 15 patients who had received standard medical treatment.
Meanwhile those who had surgery were more likely to have lower blood sugar levels and use less medication for diabetes or heart problems than those who were medically treated.
Professor Francesco Rubino, senior author of the study and chair of Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery at King’s College London said weight loss surgery is a more "cost-effective" way to treat Type 2 diabetes than insulin and other drugs.
Meanwhile Professor Geltrude Mingrone, co-author of the study and professor of Internal Medicine at the Universita Cattolica in Rome said that larger trials need to be undertaken to confirm weight loss surgery's effectiveness compared to drugs.
"Nevertheless, surgery appears to dramatically reduce risk factors of cardiovascular disease," he added.
The study was published in the Lancet.
[H/T BBC News]