People with type 2 diabetes are usually asked to make some lifestyle changes such as eating better and exercising regularly for managing the condition effectively. However, at times, these lifestyle changes fail to provide the desired results. During a recent study, scientists have come to know that bariatric surgery or weight loss surgery might treat type-2 diabetes more effectively than diet and exercise.

The study’s lead author Dr. Anita P. Courcoulas, a general and bariatric surgeon, and her colleagues have written that during the study they have found that the combination of 2 years of low-level lifestyle intervention and bariatric surgery resulted in more disease remission among obese individuals suffering from type 2 diabetes than lifestyle intervention alone. Dr. Courcoulas is currently associated with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine or UPMC.

Bariatric surgery involves a range of invasive steps that obese patients need to undergo. This surgical procedure induces weight loss by reducing the size of the patient’s stomach. To reduce the size of the stomach, the surgeon would either use a gastric band, or remove a certain part of the stomach, or reroute the patient’s small intestine into a tiny stomach pouch.

During this new study Dr. Courcoulas and her colleagues compared the progress of two groups of type 2 diabetes patients. The first group had patients who underwent bariatric surgery, whereas the second group included patients who had been part of an intensive weight loss program that involved lifestyle changes.

Patients in both groups received guidance for making healthy lifestyle modifications during the study’s final two years.

After three years, the researchers found that around a third of the patients in the bariatric surgery group experienced complete or partial remission, which means all or some of their type-2 diabetes symptoms disappeared. On the contrary, not a single one from the lifestyle intervention group experienced remission.

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These findings of the study forced Dr. Courcoulas and her colleagues to conclude that obese individuals can have more faith in bariatric surgery for managing type-2 diabetes than lifestyle intervention alone. This statement, according to the researchers, stands true even for individuals whose BMI (body mass index) ranges between 30 and 35.

For those who don’t know: the term body mass index or BMI represents the measurement of an individual’s body fat based on his or her weight and height. Individuals with BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 are considered normal, those who have BMI between 25 and 29.9 are considered overweight, and individuals with BMI greater than 29.9 are considered obese. The study has been published in the journal JAMA Surgery, on July 1.