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Weight loss surgery could reduce heart disease risk in type 2 diabetes

By Editor
7th March 2019
Research, Type 2 diabetes Type 2 diabetes remission Type 2 prevention

Weight loss surgery can provide protection against heart and large blood vessel disease in people with type 2 diabetes, researchers have said.

Benefits of bariatric surgery have been known for some time, particularly for those with type 2 diabetes who are overweight. 

But, now researchers at the University of Nottingham have shown that bariatric surgery may have even more benefits for people with the condition.

Lead author of the study Mohammed Alkharaiji said: “Our data shows that, in the long run, significant overall health improvements are seen after surgery. In many cases, this increased the patients’ chances of being able to manage their type 2 diabetes without taking insulin and was accompanied by evidence of a protective effect against potential cardiovascular complications.”

The team looked at cardiovascular events – including heart disease, heart attack and stroke – from The Health Improvement Network database, with information from more than 11,000 people with type 2 diabetes in the UK.

They compared 131 people who had bariatric surgery with 579 similar people who had not, and examined their health over a 10 year period. All participants were at first being treated with insulin and their average age was 52.

Over the 10 year period, people in the surgery group were 71 per cent less likely to have developed Coronary Heart Disease, which occurs when blood supply to the heart is blocked due to a build-up of fatty substances in the arteries.

They were also 69 per cent less likely to have Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) than the control group.

Dr Elizabeth Robertson, Director of Research at Diabetes UK, said: “We know people with type 2 diabetes are more at risk of developing heart problems and blood vessel damage, so we need to find ways to reduce this risk. This study shows that weight loss surgery could be one effective way to do this. While it won’t be suitable for everyone and may not be a treatment of choice for some people living with type 2 diabetes, evidence is building that weight loss surgery should become a more widely accessible treatment option.

“For now, the best way to reduce your risk of cardiovascular complications is to keep your blood glucose, blood pressure and blood fat at healthy levels, seek help to stop smoking, keep active and eat a healthy, balanced diet.”

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