28/Jul/2014 - Last News Update: 13:04

Type 2 diabetes 'cut' after weight-loss surgery

Category: Health

Published: 13th Apr 2011 00:13:30

The UK's first large-scale study on the impact of weight-loss surgery has reported a large reduction in type 2 diabetes and other health problems.

A year after surgery, the cases of type 2 diabetes fell by 50%, and on average patients lost nearly 60% of their excess weight, the National Bariatric Surgery Registry said.

It examined the impact of 7,045 operations carried out over two years.

The Royal College of Surgeons says the NHS should prepare for rising demand.

The report says the world has been engulfed by a pandemic of obesity. In the UK, it says there are about one million people who could benefit from bariatric surgery - which includes gastric bypasses and gastric bands.

Out of an estimated 10,000 such operations carried out in the UK during the financial years 2008/09 and 2009/10, the audit looked at 7,045.

The report includes detailed one-year follow up data for 1,421 operations. Of these, 379 patients had type 2 diabetes before surgery, while one year later that figure had fallen to 188.

There were also improvements in blood pressure and in everyday tasks such as climbing stairs.

The authors argue that by reducing the associated costs of obesity, such as treatment for diabetes, bariatric surgery offers "a real bargain for the health economy and for wider society".

'Unsustainable burden'

There are at least two generations of morbidly obese patients who are now presenting with diabetes, stroke, heart disease and cancer for whom preventative measures are utterly irrelevant. ”

Alberic Fiennes, a bariatric surgeon and chairman of the NBSR Data Committee, said the treatment should be made more widely available on the NHS.

"An approach that limits treatment to a fraction of those who would benefit is one which the NHS will rue in years to come as these patients become an unsustainable burden on the health service.

"Prevention strategy alone has proved ineffective; there are at least two generations of morbidly obese patients who are now presenting with diabetes, stroke, heart disease and cancer for whom preventative measures are utterly irrelevant. The numbers are increasing - these people need to be treated."

President of the Royal College of Surgeons John Black called for urgent government action.

"Surgeons have been saying for years that the NHS is on the brink of being swamped by obesity related referrals.

"Rather than hoping the situation will miraculously disappear, it is time that the Department of Health acknowledges the problem and works with us to develop a long-term plan to meet increased demand."

However, the chairman of the charity Diabetes UK, Professor Sir George Alberti, emphasised that people who were obese should try to lose weight through diet and lifestyle changes first.

"We agree that bariatric surgery should be used as an alternative treatment to help people lose weight if all other attempts have been unsuccessful and their diabetes remains poorly controlled."

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BBC News, 2011. Type 2 diabetes 'cut' after weight-loss surgery [Online] (Updated 13th Apr 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/145547/Type-2-diabetes-cut-after-weight-loss-surgery [Accessed 28th Jul 2014]

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