Obesity surgery leaves 3 out of 4 people with type 2 diabetes free of the disease
Over 70% of people with type 2 diabetes can put their medication away after an obesity operation that also quite significantly reduces the development of feared late complications in the eyes, kidneys and nerves.
So, although obesity surgery has side effects too – some of them serious – this study suggests that more people who are overweight and have type 2 diabetes should be offered an operation earlier in the course of the disease.
The person behind the research is specialist in endocrinology Lene Margrethe Ring Madsen PhD, whose work shows the people who benefit from the operation most are those with type 2 diabetes who have been diagnosed with diabetes for less than 5 years and are under 50 years of age.
Type 2 diabetes disappears in up to 80-90% of patients if the disease has lasted only 1-2 years, while the figure falls below 20% if diabetes has gone on for more than about 15 years.
However, it looks as though all patients benefit from the operation: even people who do not get rid of their diabetes appear to have less need for diabetes medication.
‘So, the message to medical doctors and general practitioners is that we must include obesity surgery in our treatment palette for overweight patients with type 2 diabetes’, says Lene Margrethe Ring Madsen, who currently works in Herning but carried out the research with colleagues from the Department of Clinical Epidemiology at Aarhus University Hospital.
One of those colleagues, Professor Bjørn Richelsen, stresses that the Danish study is important because most previous studies in this area have been from highly specialised, isolated institutions, whereas this study shows results obtained under ‘real-life’ circumstances generally, and deals specifically with conditions in Denmark.
"The article generated interest worldwide and has received enough citations (currently 25) to place it in the top 1.0% of all papers published in the field of clinical medicine according to Web of Science’s 'highly cited' threshold for the field and publication year."
The study included 1,111 people who have had an obesity operation and 1,074 who have not. All participants live in North Denmark Region or Central Denmark Region.
Lene Margrethe Ring Madsen is first author, while consultant Reimar W. Thomsen PhD of Aarhus University Hospital is last author.
Lene Ring Madsen is affiliated to the Danish Diabetes Academy, which is funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. The study was funded by the Health Research Fund of Central Denmark, the Novo Nordisk Foundation and the A. P. Møller Foundation.
Lene Ring Madsen PhD, specialist in endocrinology, affiliated to both Herning Hospital and the Department of Clinical Epidemiology at Aarhus University Hospital.
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The article was published in Diabetologia in April 2019 and is called: 'Effect of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery on diabetes remission and complications in individuals with type 2 diabetes: a Danish population-based matched cohort study’