A team of doctors has discovered that weight loss surgery can decrease your chances of developing type 2 diabetes by an astounding 80%. In the study, published by The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal on 3 November, only 1.7% of obese patients developed diabetes within seven years of their bariatric surgery (such surgery typically includes gastric banding, gastric bypass, and sleeve gastrectomy), compared with 8.2% from the control group.
In the UK alone, 3.2 million people are living with the knowledge that they have diabetes, while it is estimated that 630,000 more are living with the disease without knowing it. Diabetes is one of the leading 10 causes of death in the world, with the number of sufferers on the rise. According to the International Diabetes Federation, as many as 592 million people around the globe will have diabetes by 2035, which makes prevention just as important as finding new ways to manage the disease.
While a promising finding, weight loss surgery is still a very drastic step, and, therefore, it is considered a last resort when someone is dangerously obese but hasn’t been able to successfully lose weight using other methods and treatments. It is an unfortunate fact that the risks can sometimes outweigh the benefits because bariatric surgery is prone to the same complications as many other surgical procedures. The most common problems include gallstones, stomal stenosis (when food blocks the hole connecting the stomach pouch to the small intestine), having the gastric band slip out of place, or even an unexplainable intolerance to certain types of food.
Simon O’Neill, the Director of Health Intelligence at Diabetes UK, agrees that such intrusive surgical procedures should be reserved only for when there is no other way. Instead, as he told BBC News: “Looking at the bigger picture, as a society we also need to focus more on stopping people becoming overweight.”
The easiest and safest way to maintain a good weight and minimise your risk of diabetes is a regular dose of exercise and a good diet. These not only circumvent the need for expensive invasive surgery later on in life, but enhance your quality of life. Gyms and playgrounds all across the UK are giving people a healthier dimension to a day out, whether it is with our children or friends. Especially with the chill of winter settling in, getting an outdoor workout with friends can feel invigorating – all while getting ahead of a life-limiting disease.
Preventing diabetes can really be as simple as stopping by the local park once in a while for a workout!