Gastric band surgery most helpful for obese diabetics

Battling diabetes is one thing, but those battling both diabetes and obesity often have a difficult uphill climb.

But a new study suggests that gastric band surgery--where a restrictive band is placed around the stomach to help limit food intake and thus promote weight loss--is the most promising option for diabetics who need to lose weight for health reasons.

Surgery vs. drugs

In the study, published in the journal Heart, bariatric surgery was shown to help combat high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. Researchers note that, to date, no drug-based weight loss therapy for diabetics has shown this much promise in terms of reducing health risks.

Details of the study

The research was a review of 73 different studies on the subject which were published in the last 62 years. Overall, the number of participants in the research totaled nearly 20,000 at an average age of 42. About 24 percent of these participants had diabetes, while 44 percent had high blood pressure. After gastric band surgery, researchers found a 73 percent improvement in diabetes, a 63 percent improvement in blood pressure and a significant decrease in the risk for strokes or heart attacks.

Moreover, the findings suggest that this type of surgery helps boost overall heart health by improving the heart's muscle mass.

And while it may seem obvious that a weight loss intervention correlates with a better health report, researchers say the study corroborates the idea that gastric band surgery is more than just a cosmetic procedure and that it surpasses other interventions by delivering better health outcomes for those with severe problems.

Source: Science Daily, Private MD Labs

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