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Does Gastric Banding Help Overweight People With Type 2 Diabetes?

written by Michael O’Leary

While the evidence showing that weight-loss surgery can halt type 2 diabetes in obese people grows, less is known about whether such a drastic intervention might also benefit people who are overweight, but not obese.  (The difference between overweight and obese is a technical one.  Obese refers to people with a body mass index of over 30.  Overweight refers to people with a body mass index between 25 and 29.9.  To calculate your own BMI, visit this link on the NIH website.)

In the first such study designed to make the case for bariatric surgery as treatment for type 2 diabetes in overweight people, Australian researchers compared outcomes in 25 people with a BMI of 25 to 30 treated with gastric band surgery and standard care with 25 similar people treated with standard care alone.

The researchers, led by Emeritus Professor Paul O’Brien and Dr John Wentworth from the Centre for Obesity Research and Education (CORE) at Manash University in Victoria, Australia, followed both groups for two years, and documented blood sugar control during that time. They published their findings in the April 8, 2014 The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

The gastric surgery consisted of minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, sometimes called keyhole surgery due to the small incisions needed for the procedure, and placement of an adjustable band around the neck of the stomach to restrict food intake.

After two years, 12 (52 percent) of those in the gastric surgery group had their diabetes in remission, compared to two (8 percent) of those in the standard care group. In addition, the results showed a strong link between the amount of weight loss and the amount of diabetes control. The more weight loss the greater the reduction in diabetes.

One person in the surgery group needed a second surgery due to complications and four others needed adjustments to the gastric band that was too restrictive and made it difficult to eat.

It is a small study, but it is among the first to test such surgery in people who are not obese and normally don’t qualify for such surgery for weight-loss purposes. The researchers concluded that their study shows that weight-loss such as achieved with gastric banding should be given higher priority as a means of treating type 2 diabetes.

Nevertheless, It will require testing in many more people who are only overweight before weight-loss surgery wins FDA approval in the US for treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Ever wondered if you or someone in your family might be at risk of type 2 diabetes? Take the test March 25.

by Michael O’Leary

As part of its American Diabetes Association Alert Day on March 25, people will be encouraged to take the Diabetes Risk Test. You might be surprised by the results.

No need to prep for it, it’s free, takes about two minutes, and only asks a total of eight questions. It’s easy and it could give you something to talk about with your doctor.

The ADA estimates that about one-third of those with diabetes (about 5.7 million people) don’t know it. Even more people are thought to be prediabetic.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that about one in four U.S. adults aged 20 years or older – or 57 million people – had prediabetes in 2007. Those with prediabetes are likely to develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years, unless they take steps to prevent or delay diabetes.

So this test is intended to help people find out if they may be among that number and to encourage them to find out.

The leading risk factors for type 2 diabetes?

  • Being overweight
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Older than 45
  • High blood pressure
  • Family history
  • Ethnicity

Another benefit of taking the test is finding out that you can do things to prevent or reverse the disease. If you are overweight, lose as little as seven percent of your weight by eating a better, more healthful diet that is low in fat and calories, and get regular exercise.

The Diabetes Prevention Program study showed that doing those three things could lower your risk of type 2 diabetes by 58 percent. These lifestyle changes were even more beneficial for study participants over 70 years old, who cut their risk by 71 percent.

Left untreated, diabetes can lead to kidney failure, loss of vision, or cardiovascular damage. So take control of your health, take the test and find out if you may be at risk.


We R the Cure

Had a great phone call the other day with Mike Anderson, founder of  Mike was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes about fifteen years ago as an adult.  Recognizing the importance of clinical trials, he’s launched a website that is dedicated to educating patients about potential research options.

He’s located in Richmond, Virginia – and participates in a great deal of research at the University of Virginia.  Check out his site here:


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