By: Brenda Neugent
Not only does gastric bypass help patients drop excess weight, it can also lower the risk of a variety of health problems, especially in those with type 2 diabetes.
According to research from the Cleveland Clinic, after gastric bypass, obese diabetes patients had a 40 percent reduced risk of experiencing a heart attack and 42 percent less risk of having a stroke.
There was also a reduced risk of kidney disease as well as death from cardiovascular disease, researchers said in a recent meeting of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery held as part of Obesity Week 2013.
Researchers followed 131 obese patients with diabetes over six years following gastric bypass, and found that in addition to the lower risk of heart attack and stroke, patients were 18 percent less likely to develop cardiovascular disease and 45 percent less likely to develop kidney disease.
“This study emphasizes that gastric bypass dramatically changes the trajectory of many chronic diseases associated with diabetes and improves multiple cardiovascular risk factors in the long term,” said study co-author Stacy A. Brethauer, MD, of the Laparoscopic and Bariatric Surgery department at Cleveland Clinic, in a news release.
A study released last year-also from the Cleveland Clinic-found that gastric bypass erased symptoms of type 2 diabetes and sent the disease into remission for more than one third of all patients.
Of the patients, “27 percent had complete remission maintained for five years, and that is the operational definition of a ‘cure’ by American Diabetes Association standards,” Brethauer said. “Hopefully this will help people understand that the effects we see after these procedures are durable. Even in the patients who had some of their diabetes come back, the disease came back milder; we have changed the trajectory.”
Returning to unhealthy eating patterns in most cases results in the return of diabetes symptoms, he added.
To be considered cured, patients had to have an A1c of 6% or less, have a normal fasting blood glucose level of less than 100 and be free from any diabetes-related medications for at least one year.