Recently the medical community has been busy discussing the effect that gastric bypass has on treating type 2 diabetes in more detail. At the same time, more and more doctors and patients became interested in this process.
Gastric bypass surgery is an efficient weight-loss treatment for patients with morbid obesity. The procedure limits the food intake and restricts the absorption of calories by diminishing the size of the stomach and modifying the flow of food into the duodenum. Although the resulting weight-loss may work against diabetes, endocrinologists remark better blood-sugar control and less significant symptoms well before patients start to lose weight. Six years after surgery 62% of patients report about the remission of type 2 diabetes.
How does weight loss surgery work for patients with type 2 diabetes? There are no clear answers yet but doctors are carrying out an ongoing research. For instance, a recent study of more than 600 patients showed that 78 % of people had a total resolution of their diabetes after the procedure.
So far bypass surgeries proved to be more efficient than the surgeries that only “tighten” the stomach. Although blood glucose levels are likely to decrease with any kind of weight loss, the improvement after the surgery appears surprisingly quickly. This may have something to do with the reconfigured anatomy but scientists are not too certain whether it is due to the GLP-1 hormone, the inhibition of an agent that stimulates the appearance of high blood glucose, or the reduced calorie intake.
Two American Diabetes Association-sponsored scientists have revealed probable clues that can help clarify why weight loss surgery improves the medical condition of diabetes 2. In previous research scientists found that enhanced circulating amounts of particular types of amino acids (the building-blocks of proteins) are connected to insulin resistance and cardiovascular disorders. Now in a more recent research scientists notified that patients who had undergone weight loss surgery have significantly decreased amounts of these amino acids circulating in their bodies.
Research involved 21 obese people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, 10 of them had weight loss surgery while the others went on a 1,000-calorie meal-replacement diet per day. All individuals lost equal amounts of weight, but those who followed the diet took about a month longer to do so and had bigger amounts of the amino acids in their bodies than the people who had weight loss surgery. They experienced a significant decrease of their blood-sugar levels and were capable of discontinuing their diabetes medications entirely within one month of the surgery, while a few of the dieters still required their medication despite the same weight loss.
Scientists decided to concentrate on the impact of these amino acids on diabetes in the upcoming studies. They are optimistic that their previous discoveries may lead to a progress in new diabetes treatment research that would be as efficient as weight loss surgery. It is in particular relevant because some of the patients with type 2 diabetes do not qualify for the procedure. In Europe the surgery is offered only to individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 30. The American Diabetes Association presently advises considering weight loss surgery for patients with type 2 diabetes who have a body mass index (BMI) of 35.
Although the time-tested gold standard for diabetes treatment remains dieting, sports and medications, weight loss surgery can be a thrilling option for the obese patients with type 2 diabetes.