Metabolic surgery offers heart benefits for people with persistent diabetes

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A groundbreaking study presented at the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) 2023 Annual Scientific Meeting has revealed that metabolic surgery significantly reduces heart disease risks among diabetes patients, regardless of whether their diabetes goes into full remission.

Patients who underwent metabolic surgery saw a 35% reduction in hospitalization from heart attacks, a 25% reduction in strokes, and a nearly 15% decrease in instances of congestive heart failure.

Moreover, the risk of death following such complications also dropped significantly. For instance, patients with a myocardial infection saw a 27% reduction in mortality rates.

An Eye-Opening Outcome

Jonathan Jenkins, MD, who led the research at the University of Oklahoma in Tulsa, said, “We were surprised to see the significant microvascular and macrovascular protective effects.

We hypothesize the increased glycemic control in metabolic surgery resistant type 2 diabetes drives decreased cardiovascular risk.”

The study analyzed data from 2016 to 2019, comparing 70,083 diabetes patients who had metabolic surgery but still had the disease against 348,212 similar patients who were undergoing usual care.

The patients were matched for various factors, including age, gender, race, socioeconomic status, and comorbidity risks.

Additional Benefits: Time and Cost

Beyond the health benefits, the study found that patients who underwent metabolic surgery also spent less time in the hospital and saw a substantial reduction in healthcare costs.

Savings ranged from over $1,000 to nearly $4,000 depending on the severity of complications and required treatments.

Despite these promising results, only about 1% of eligible patients undergo weight-loss surgery each year.

This is particularly concerning given that 42.4% of Americans are affected by obesity, a condition known to compromise the immune system and increase the risk of numerous diseases, including cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.

Teresa LaMasters, MD, President of ASMBS, emphasized that the study shifts the paradigm on how the effectiveness of metabolic surgery should be measured.

“While some diabetes may remain, the protective effects against the complications of disease are enduring,” she noted.

The Road Ahead

These findings could potentially revolutionize the treatment approach for patients with type 2 diabetes, encouraging a more comprehensive look at metabolic surgery not just as a procedure aimed at weight loss or diabetes remission, but as a preventive measure against devastating cardiovascular complications.

It could also lead to substantial healthcare cost savings, estimated at over $2 billion a year if applied widely.

By spotlighting the profound, life-changing effects of metabolic surgery, this study could be the catalyst for a more aggressive, holistic approach to treating diabetes and its associated risks, ultimately improving the quality of life for millions.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies about Changing breakfast habits could improve type 2 diabetes management and findings of Improving blood sugar control: the surprising role of antacids in diabetes management.

about diabetes, please read studies about berries that can help prevent diabetes, obesity, and cancer, and new drugs to treat diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

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