Bariatric surgery 'can resolve up to 90% of diabetes'

Up to 90% of people with diabetes could have their condition 'resolved by gastric bypass', a leading diabetes expert told the RCGP conference.

Dr Stephen Lawrence (Photo Pete Hill)
Dr Stephen Lawrence (Photo Pete Hill)

Dr Stephen Lawrence, the RCGP’s lead clinical advisor for diabetes, said the £2,000 operation could significantly cut into the £9bn the NHS spends annually treating complications of the disease.

He said: ‘You bypass the stomach and go straight through to the small intestine, and in so doing – because you're not having exposure to the proximal part of the gut – it reduces the chances of the typical biochemical parameters that we see in type 2 diabetes.

’Up to 90% of diabetes is therefore resolved using this procedure.’

He said the biochemical changes could be observed ‘within days of surgery, well before they start to lose weight’.

His presentation, a ‘clinical and technological update’ on the latest treatments for diabetes, took place on Friday at the annual RCGP conference in Liverpool.

He spoke of the range of diabetes treatments available to GPs, which included colour-changing contact lenses, insulin pumps and jet injectors.

But he emphasised that promoting healthy lifestyle factors – such as exercise and eating healthily – was still important in frontline care for diabetes patients.

He warned that condition was ‘easy to treat badly’ and GPs should work to include patients in helping them plan out their own care.

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