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Weight Loss Surgery Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Good News for South Carolina

A Swedish study that followed more than 3,400 obese men and women shows that bariatric surgery, more than lifestyle changes and medication, reduces the risk of diabetes by up to 78%.

Bariatric surgery shrinks the stomach, so it holds less food and absorbs fewer calories. The surgery is normally recommended as a last resort for obese patients. However, this study’s data could change that.

“Instead of waiting for illness to begin and treat with medications, patients will now have a choice to prevent diabetes,” said Dr. Carson Liu, a bariatric surgeon in Los Angeles. “This is a terrific data for decreasing the epidemic of diabetes.”

In the 1,658 volunteers in the study who received surgery, one in 150 per year were at risk of developing diabetes. The control group, of 1,771 people, received standard care – their risk for developing diabetes was one in 35.

“If anything, the surgery group was a bit heavier and had more risk factors than the control group at the start of the study, and still the outcome at 10 years and 15 years was much more favorable in the surgery group,” said coauthor Dr. Lars Sjostrom of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. “It’s favorable in spite of these differences.”

This is good news for South Carolina, which, according to a recent study of obesity in the United States, ranks 8th in the nation, with an obesity rate of 30.8%. Between 3 and 4 people die each day in the state because of conditions related to Type 2 diabetes.

However, in January of last year, the state offered a pilot program to 100 qualifying patients, offering state-funded bariatric surgery. The program was intended to cut medical costs overall, helping obese patients who might develop diabetes avoid the condition. Data from the study will be gathered this year, but results may not be released until 2014.

Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which the body resists insulin. Complications from Type 2 diabetes can include heart disease, strokes, diabetic retinopathy where eyesight is affected, kidney failure which may require dialysis, and poor circulation of limbs leading to amputations. Doctors often recommend lifestyle changes, including a strict diet and exercise program, but sometimes the only way to treat the disease is with medication. Unfortunately, recent findings of some of the most popular medications for Type 2 diabetes, Avandia and Actos, show that the drugs increase risk of heart disease, liver failure, diabetic macular edema, and, in the case of Actos, bladder cancer, when used for more than 2 years. If you or a loved one has Type 2 diabetes and have been taking Actos or Avandia to treat your condition, and have since suffered dangerous side effects, please contact the experienced lawyers at Strom Law, LLC. We offer free consultations, and can help get you on the road to recovery. 803.252.4800.



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