Bariatric surgery appears to significantly lower the risk of type 2 diabetes

by Bruce Sylvester: Compared with standard care, bariatric surgery appears to lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by about 80% among obese persons, researchers reported on Nov. 2, 2014 in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Dr. Martin Gulliford, Professor of Public Health at King’s College London, UK, and colleagues used electronic health records from the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink to evaluate the effect of bariatric surgery on the development of diabetes.

They identified 2167 obese adults (body mass index/BMI 30kg/m2 or over) without diabetes who had undergone laparoscopic adjustable banding, sleeve gastrectomy, or gastric bypass from 2002-2010. They compared diabetes-related outcomes with 2167 obese control subjects matched for age, sex, BMI, and blood glucose control (measured as HbA1c) who did not undergo surgery or other obesity treatments. They followed all subjects for a maximum of 7 years (median 2.8 years).

They found 38 new diagnoses of diabetes among subjects who had undergone bariatric surgery and 177 among control participants. This translated to about an 80% reduction in the incidence of development of type 2 diabetes in participants who had undergone surgery, controlling for other factors including smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

According to Professor Gulliford, “Our results suggest that bariatric surgery may be a highly effective method of preventing the onset of new diabetes in men and women with severe obesity. We need to understand how weight loss surgery can be used, together with interventions to increase physical activity and promote healthy eating, as part of an overall diabetes prevention strategy.”

This study was funded by the UK National Institute for Health Research.