Versova resident Smita Kumar, 54, weighed 107kg and suffered from severe diabetes. Last April, when she underwent a gastric bypass procedure to facilitate weight loss, the surgery led to other health benefits.
"Besides being obese, I was also taking medication for hypertension, thyroid and diabetes. After the surgery, I lost 43kg and stopped taking medication for the three other health conditions," said the finance professor.
Kumar is among the 220 morbidly obese patients who were part of a five-year study to analyse the effectiveness of bariatric surgery in controlling Type 2 diabetes. The ongoing study by doctors attached to Lapro-Obeso Centre at LH Hiranandani Hospital, Powai suggests that the surgery is a more effective treatment for remission of diabetes in morbidly obese patients than methods such as medication and diet control.
"Medical literature suggests that lifestyle changes have limitations in controlling diabetes. The study aims to find a solution for such patients to reduce the long-term complications," said Dr Shashank Shah, director, Lapro-Obeso Centre, LH Hiranandani Hospital.
The study found that diabetes in 95% of the patients was completely resolved after they underwent bariatric procedures for weight reduction. An abstract of the study, conducted between 2005-2010, was presented at the International Federation for Surgery for Obesity and Related diseases in September in Hamburg, Germany.
It began in January 2005 with 220 morbidly obese patients (those with a body mass index (BMI) of more than 32.5 in the age group of 18 to 70) with Type 2 diabetes and taking medication. The patients were divided into two groups - those who opted for lifestyle changes to lose weight and those who chose bariatric surgery.
"They will continue to be monitored for the next five years," said Dr Shah.
Of the 45 patients who chose to make lifestyle changes and lost weight, only 70% showed improvement in their diabetes profile.
"It was noticed that patients lost weight by treatment but diabetes only improved and did not disappear," said Dr Shah.
Of the 175 patients who preferred surgery, 166 could discontinue anti-diabetic medication after the procedure."
These patients lost their diabetes. The operations had some anti-diabetic actions," said Dr Shah.
"The study demonstrates that in Indian patients, the surgery leads to better resolution of diabetes. Western studies show 84-88% resolution of diabetes in such patients," said Dr Raman Goel, bariatric surgeon, Bombay Hospital.