Guidelines: Consider Obesity Surgery for Diabetes

By Neergaard, Lauran | Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque), May 25, 2016 | Go to article overview

Guidelines: Consider Obesity Surgery for Diabetes


Neergaard, Lauran, Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque)


WASHINGTON - New guidelines say weight-loss surgery should become a more routine treatment option for diabetes, even for some patients who are mildly obese.

Obesity and Type 2 diabetes are a deadly pair, and numerous studies show stomach-shrinking operations can dramatically improve diabetes.

But Tuesday's guidelines mark the first time the surgery is recommended specifically as a diabetes treatment rather than as obesity treatment with a side benefit, and expand the eligible candidates.

The recommendations were endorsed by the American Diabetes Association, the International Diabetes Federation and 43 other health groups, and published in the journal Diabetes Care.

"We do not claim that surgery should be the first-line therapy," cautioned Dr. David E. Cummings, an endocrinologist at the University of Washington and senior author of the guidelines. But as standard care often isn't enough, "it's time for something new."

Here are some things to know:

DIABEtes, obeSITY SERIOUS PROBLEMs

About 26 million Americans have diabetes, mostly the Type 2 form where the body gradually loses the ability to produce or use insulin to turn food into energy. Many Type 2 diabetics, although not all, are overweight or obese. Many can control the disease with diet, exercise, medication or insulin - but years of poorly controlled diabetes can lead to heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, amputations or blindness.

DOES SURGERY REALLY HELP WITH DIABETES?

Studies have long shown that most obese diabetics who undergo bariatric surgery see their blood sugar control dramatically improve. Some even reach normal levels despite quitting their regular medicine. The surgery is not considered a cure, because some people relapse. But others have remained in remission for years.

SO WHAT'S NEW?

Until now, health guidelines have focused on surgery as a last- resort method for the severely obese to lose weight, with diabetes improvement considered a bonus. …

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