"I had weight loss surgery and beat diabetes, FOREVER!" Not so much.
Don't buy that tee shirt just yet.
Many people whose diabetes at first went away were likely to have it return. While weight regain is a common problem among those who undergo bariatric surgery, regaining lost weight did not appear to be the cause of diabetes relapse. Instead, the study found that people whose diabetes was most severe or in its later stages when they had surgery were more likely to have a relapse, regardless of whether they regained weight.
“Some people are under the impression that you have surgery and you’re cured,” said Dr. Vivian Fonseca, the president for medicine and science for the American Diabetes Association, who was not involved in the study. “There have been a lot of claims about how wonderful surgery is for diabetes, and I think this offers a more realistic picture.”
The findings suggest that weight loss surgery may be most effective for treating diabetes in those whose disease is not very advanced. “What we’re learning is that not all diabetic patients do as well as others,” said Dr. David E. Arterburn, the lead author of the study and an associate investigator at the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle. “Those who are early in diabetes seem to do the best, which makes a case for potentially earlier intervention.”
Obes Surg. 2012 Nov 18. [Epub ahead of print]A Multisite Study of Long-term Remission and Relapse of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Following Gastric Bypass.
Gastric bypass has profound effects on glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus. The goal of this study was to examine the long-term rates and clinical predictors of diabetes remission and relapse among patients undergoing gastric bypass.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study of adults with uncontrolled or medication-controlled type 2 diabetes who underwent gastric bypass from 1995 to 2008 in three integrated health care delivery systems in the USA. Remission and relapse events were defined by diabetes medication use and clinical laboratory measures of glycemic control. We identified 4,434 adults with uncontrolled or medication-controlled type 2 diabetes who had gastric bypass.
Overall, 68.2 % (95 % confidence interval [CI], 66 and 70 %) experienced an initial complete diabetes remission within 5 years after surgery. Among these, 35.1 % (95 % CI, 32 and 38 %) redeveloped diabetes within 5 years. The median duration of remission was 8.3 years. Significant predictors of complete remission and relapse were poor preoperative glycemic control, insulin use, and longer diabetes duration. Weight trajectories after surgery were significantly different for never remitters, relapsers, and durable remitters (p = 0.03).
Gastric bypass surgery is associated with durable remission of type 2 diabetes in many but not all severely obese diabetic adults, and about one third experience a relapse within 5 years of initial remission. More research is needed to understand the mechanisms of diabetes relapse, the optimal timing of surgery in effecting a durable remission, and the relationship between remission duration and incident microvascular and macrovascular events.