Good news for obese people with type 2 diabetes: Gastric bypass surgery can help reduce the risk of heart disease, a new clinical trial shows. To compare the benefits of gastric bypass with lifestyle and medication modification, researchers recruited 38 obese patients (ages 21 through 65) who had at least one year of established diabetes, a body mass index (BMI) of 30–42, a strong desire for substantial weight loss and a commitment to life-long follow-up care. The patients were randomly assigned to either have gastric bypass surgery or to take part in an intensive medical diabetes and weight management program at the Joslin Diabetes Center.
The results showed that while patients in both groups lost significant weight and kept it off for 2 years, the gastric bypass patients lost more weight. The surgery group shed about 57 pounds on average (25% of their initial body weight); the lifestyle and medication modification lost an average of 13 pounds (6% of their initial body weight). In addition, the bypass patients had better improvements in blood pressure, blood sugar control, and cholesterol levels, all of which helped to reduce their risk of developing coronary heart disease. The researchers concluded that “gastric bypass surgery is an acceptable therapeutic option for risk reduction in heart disease in obese patients with type 2 diabetes in whom surgical risk is not excessive.”
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