"Diabetes is an increasingly common disease that tends to keep getting worse relentlessly," Dr. Arterburn said. More than 25 million American adults have diabetesand as populations age and keep gaining weight, 50 million are predicted to have it by 2050. Already, diabetes accounts for 5 percent of all U.S. health care spending. And it raises the risk of blindness, kidney disease, heart attacks, strokes, and deaths.
"Prevention is by far the best medicine for diabetes," Dr. Arterburn said. "Once you have diabetes, it's really hard to get rid of. Attempts to treat it with intensive lifestyle changes and medical management have been disappointing." For instance, the National Institutes of Health recently halted the Look AHEAD study of intensive lifestyle changes for people with diabetes. Despite improvements in risk factors like body weight, fitness, and blood pressure, sugar, and lipids, that study showed lifestyle changes did not lower the outcomes that matter most: heart attacks, strokes, and deaths.
"No wonder so many were excited to learn that diabetes can remit after gastric surgeryeven, in some cases, before any significant weight lossand many were hoping that gastric surgery might be a 'cure' for diabetes," Dr. Arterburn said. "Our study is the first major evidence that diabetes often recurs after gastric bypass surgery." Still, he added, even after diabetes comes back, having had a long period of post-surgery remission is likely to have many positive effects, such as fewer complications of diabetes: less damage to eyes and kidneys, and fewer heart attacks, strokes, and deaths. The researchers are now funded by the National Institutes of Health to study that possibility in this same population. Dr. Arterburn is also leading a randomized controlled pilot trial of intensi
|Contact: Rebecca Hughes|
Group Health Research Institute