LONDON, March 24 /PRNewswire/ -- For the first time ever, experts in bariatric surgery gave a lecture on how weight loss surgery for morbidly obese patients can cure type 2 diabetes, at the Diabetes UK Annual Professional Conference in Glasgow.
'The changing face of diabetes', was the theme for the 2009 conference, introducing the new developments in bariatric research and clinical practice for the future.
The session entitled Bariatric surgery as a cure for diabetes: can we stomach it? Was one of only three plenary sessions throughout this year's conference, and tackled integrating obesity management into diabetes care, with both diabetic and surgical expert views.
The contribution of bariatric surgery to the conference comes just after a report published in the American Journal of Medicine which suggests type 2 diabetes was completely resolved in 78% of patients undergoing bariatric surgery - findings that were maintained for two years or more.
In 2007, 24% of adults (aged 16 or over) in England were classified as obese. This represents an overall increase from 15% in 1993, with the most severely overweight of these considered `morbidly' obese. Obesity represents one of the most serious public health problems in Europe, and morbid obesity has been associated with over 30 illnesses. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes is 20 times greater for people with severe obesity (BMI 35kg/m2) than for those with BMI of between 18-25 kg/m2.
Surgical treatment for morbidly obese individuals has provided a well-documented long-term effect on their weight, quality of life and diabetic conditions. On average, the weight reduction after 1 to 2 years is as much as 32% with gastric bypass, 25% for banding (compared to 5-10% weight loss seen with non-surgical treatments).
This form of surgery (approved by NICE) not only produces substantial weight loss, but provides rapid improvement of type 2 diabetes, even before much weight loss has occurred, through alterations in gut hormone-pancreas-brain pathways. Many of those with diabetes find that their blood glucose levels normalise and they can stop taking medication.
Dr Nicholas Finer, Consultant Endocrinologist, at UCL Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and member of NICE advisory board for bariatric surgery, commented: I very much welcome Diabetes UK's acceptance of the potential for surgical treatment of severe obesity to have an important role in diabetes management. Bariatric surgery not only helps achieve substantial weight loss and weight loss maintenance, but significantly improves and even resolves other associated conditions such as type 2 diabetes. Our challenge is to increase accessibility and availability of this treatment
For many of the morbidly obese, bariatric surgery such as a gastric bypass is the only long-term option.
 Buchwald et al. Weight and Type 2 Diabetes after Bariatric Surgery: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis, The American Journal of Medicine, (3). 2009.
 Health Survey for England 2007 Latest Trends at http://www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/hse07trends.
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