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Study: Gastric Bypass Surgery Helps Diabetes Patients Achieve Remission, Regardless of How Much Weight They Lose

Aug. 22 2023, Updated 12:06 p.m. ET

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Weight loss surgery could be a key factor for people with diabetes achieving remission, according to a new study.

In the study, more than half of diabetes patients who had gastric bypass surgery reported diabetes remission — independent of how much weight they lost. These findings, presented at the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) 2023 Annual Scientific Meeting, offer promising insight for those living with diabetes.

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For the study, researchers from the Mayo Clinic, the University of California-San Francisco, and Stony Brook University Medical Center looked at data from 815 gastric bypass surgery patients from 2008 to 2017. Over this time period, researchers collected information from patients on a yearly basis.

The study followed these patients for seven years on average — which is the longest such study for diabetes patients following a gastric bypass.

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Although results showed a correlation between gastric bypass surgery and diabetes remission, many factors are at play here. They included: the need for diabetes medications, disease duration, pre-surgery insulin use, baseline HbA1c levels and post-surgery weight loss.

The key takeaway: Weight loss following gastric bypass surgery is not the only factor for remission of diabetes.

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“This study shows that diabetes remission is not fully contingent on weight loss after gastric bypass surgery,” the lead study author, Omar Ghanem, MD, said in a new release. “The key is to maintain close monitoring and efficient management of diabetes after surgery."

Ghanem added: "Metabolic surgery is not a magic pill, but it offers perhaps the only chance for many people to rid themselves of diabetes and its associated complications once and for all.”

Clearly, further research is needed to learn more about the best long-term treatment options for diabetes. But this study may be a step in the right direction for addressing a health condition that's on the rise.

Diabetes affects more than 37 million people in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and costs for individuals living with it can be astronomical.


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