New research has found that some types of weight loss surgery is likely a superior treatment for some people with diabetes. In comparison with intensive medical treatments, such as diet and medication, two new studies have found that surgery is a more promising option for obese people with diabetes. The findings of the studies were published online in a recent edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Type 2 diabetes is a serious health problem affecting more than 20 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Further, the United States is on the brink of a diabetes epidemic, with 79 million adults and children considered to be pre-diabetic. Diabetes causes high blood sugar and is linked to obesity. The disease tends to become more difficult to manage as it progresses and can lead to complications like strokes, heart disease, amputations, loss of vision, and kidney failure.

The two clinical trials observed approximately 200 patients with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes, some of which received bariatric surgery. As expected, weight loss was greater in the surgery patients. Additionally, surgery patients experienced improvements in health, with their need for diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol medications significantly decreased. Some patients no longer needed diabetes medication, at all. Dr. Jaime Ponce, President-Elect of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, said that the studies are “likely to have a major effect on future diabetes treatment. Bariatric surgery should be included in future algorithms for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes.” For years bariatric surgeons have received reports of weight loss surgery resulting in significant improvement and even reversal of diabetes in patients, but there hasn’t been much research published to provide concrete evidence. Previously, just one small randomized, controlled trial demonstrated the superiority of surgery (gastric banding) over medical care.

If you are suffering from both obesity and diabetes, weight loss surgery may an effective treatment option. You can read about the surgery options available at WeightWise Bariatric Program or register to attend a free educational seminar.