Along with the promise of significant weight loss, gastric bypass surgery may reverse diabetes in some people and improve risks factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, according to new research.
"Individuals who have gastric bypass surgery lose a significant amount of weight. At two years, they had lost 35 percent of their initial body weight. At six years, it was about 28 percent, which shows a pretty durable weight loss," said study lead author Ted Adams, an adjunct associate professor in the division of cardiovascular genetics at the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City.
"At six years, in those patients who had type 2 diabetes prior to surgery, 62 percent no longer had a diagnosis of diabetes. There was also significant remission in high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high triglycerides," said Adams.
Dr. Anita Courcoulas, chief of minimally invasive bariatric and general surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and author of an accompanying editorial, also pointed out that many cases of type 2 diabetes were prevented in the weight loss surgery group. "Only 2 percent of people in the gastric bypass group developed type 2 diabetes," she said, whereas in the study's control groups, the rate of type 2 diabetes development was as high as 17 percent.