Weight loss surgery could help to prevent the development of microvascular complications in people with type 2 diabetes, research suggests.
Microvascular complications, which affect small blood vessels, can include diabetic neuropathy, nephropathy and retinopathy. Having long-term high blood sugar levels increases these risks, but eating healthily, getting regular exercise and maintaining good diabetes control can reduce the risk of these complications.
In this study, weight loss or bariatric surgery, which has been previously shown to put type 2 diabetes into remission among obese patients, was reviewed for its impact on preventing microvascular complications.
Surgery was analysed in a cohort of 17,532 patients with type 2 diabetes from 10 studies by scientists from the Surgical Department of the University of Heidelberg in cooperation with the Study Center of the German Surgical Society.
The risk of complications was reduced four-fold in participants who underwent surgery compared to those who underwent standard treatment (diet and exercise).
Additionally, pre-existing diabetic nephropathy was significantly improved following surgery compared to standard treatment. And the likelihood of type 2 diabetes remission was 15 times higher following surgery.
“Metabolic surgery strongly reduces the risk for diabetes-associated complications and seems even to improve existing diabetic kidney damage in 1 out of 2 operated patients,” said lead author Dr. Adrian Billeter, of the University of Heidelberg, in Germany.
However, while it is positive to see this surgery yielded encouraging results, weight loss procedures are quite often extreme measures for people with diabetes. Meanwhile, eating a healthy diet, such as low carb, has been shown by thousands of members of our Low Carb Program to help with weight loss, improve blood sugar levels and even reduce dependency on medication.
The researchers added that current medical therapy for diabetes, such as metformin, can only achieve so much, but it is disappointing that they have neglected to include information on how successful healthy eating interventions can be.
The findings have been published online in the British Journal of Surgery.

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