Type II diabetes prevented by bariatric surgery

Photo credits: Danny Dorling

Bariatric surgery is a common treatment for weight loss in those who are obese; however, it may become an option for treating type II diabetes as well. Researchers of Sweden have linked bariatric surgery to high rates of diabetes prevention.

The two forms of diabetes are type I, afflicted individuals do not produce enough endogenous insulin, and type II, afflicted individuals cannot detect insulin in their body. Both kinds result in excess glucose in the blood which is often linked to weight gain. Weight loss measures for obese individuals usually consists of lifestyle changes and/or medication, which have been shown to reduce type II diabetes risk by 40% for 3-15 years. However, only bariatric surgery, a method used to reduce stomach volume, is used for individuals considered severely obese (BMI 35-40).

A controlled, nonrandomized, prospective Swedish study consisting of 1,658 post-bariatric surgery individuals and 1,771 obese matched controls all age 37-60 analyzed type II diabetes risk over 15 years. Blood glucose assessments were conducted at 2, 10, and 15 years with a threshold of at least 110 mg/dL blood glucose, 126 mg/dL plasma glucose, or self reported diabetes medication use defining type II diabetes.

During the 10 year followup, 392 type II diabetes cases were reported in the control group and 110 in the surgery group. Resulting incidences were 28.4 and 6.8 cases per 1,000 person-years respectively. Hazard ratio of the group that underwent bariatric surgery was calculated as 0.13, which translates to an 87% reduced risk of developing type II diabetes.

Compared to lifestyle changes and prescribed medicine (40% risk reduction), bariatric surgery (87% risk reduction) reduced the risk of developing type II diabetes by half. Aside from an effective weight loss procedure, bariatric surgery may become utilized as an effective type II diabetes prevention tool.

Lena M.S. Carlsson, Markku Peltonen, Sofie Ahlin, Åsa Anveden, Claude Bouchard, Björn Carlsson, Peter Jacobson, Hans Lönroth, Cristina Maglio, Ingmar Näslund, Carlo Pirazzi, Stefano Romeo, Kajsa Sjöholm, Elisabeth Sjöström, Hans Wedel, Per-Arne Svensson, Lars Sjöström. 2012. Bariatric Surgery and Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes in Swedish Obese Subjects. The New England Journal of Medicine.


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