Can diabetes mellitus be cured?

Mar 5, 2020

Diabetes mellitus is a multifactorial disease that is closely related to the phenomenon of obesity. So strong is the association that in recent years numerous authors have referred to this phenomenon as “Diabesity”.In Mexico, it is estimated that around 10% to 15% of the population has been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus. It is also thought that these figures could be underestimated due to the population's lack of universal access to health services. Our country ranks ninth place worldwide in the number of diagnosed cases. Diabetes mellitus is the leading cause of global death in the national territory. We also know that 56% of patients have very poor control of the disease, 38.4% have poor control, and only 5.9% are well controlled. On the other hand, our country is already the first place in the rate of adult obesity and for several years, in childhood obesity. Therefore, this epidemic is expected to continue to progressively increase over the next few years.

Based on these figures, we can infer that the majority of the population suffers or lives directly with a person affected by diabetes mellitus and therefore knows its consequences. Loss of sight, kidney failure, arterial failure, ulcers, amputations, infections at different levels, dialysis and heart attacks, are few examples taken from a huge list of consequences that accompany the progress of the disease. However, despite the overwhelming facts and forecasts, there is good news: diabetes mellitus can be cured!

Evidently, this is a claim that due to its transcendence it must be supported by an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence. Fortunately, the issue is of such concern to the medical community that numerous scientific and research protocols, as well as an enormous amount of resources have been devoted to it, and the results have been extremely positive.

In a study carried out by a team of researchers from the Cleveland Clinic (one of the most prestigious hospitals in the United States worldwide) in which I was fortunate to participate, we analyzed the effects of bariatric surgery on type 2 diabetes mellitus within a period of no less than 6 years after the surgery was performed. Among the most relevant results we found:
- The total sample was 217 patients who underwent bariatric surgery (gastric band: 32, gastric sleeve: 23, gastric bypass: 162) followed for at least 6 years after surgery.
- The average of excess weight lost in 6 years after surgery was 55%.
- Complete cure of type 2 diabetes mellitus was reached in 24% of patients.
- A partial remission of the disease was observed in 26% of patients. This means that people in this category maintained fasting glucose levels between 100 and 125 mg / dL, with glycated hemoglobin less than 6%, without the need to use hypoglycemic drugs or insulin.
- 34% of the total presented significant improvement.
- 16% did not register a significant change in 6 years after surgery.
- Taking into consideration only postoperative gastric bypass patients, long-term healing reached 31%, partial remission 30%, another 31% improvement and only 8% did not register changes after 6 years.
These formidable results show that:

1) Bariatric surgery is the best and longest-lasting treatment for type 2 diabetes in people suffering from morbid obesity.
2) Bariatric surgery is the only treatment that can induce an abrupt remission of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
3) The results and benefits continue to be observed in medium and long term.
4) Gastric bypass is the operation with the greatest effect on type 2 diabetes mellitus within the range of bariatric surgeries.

It is necessary to emphasize that these spectacular results are available to most patients suffering from type 2 diabetes mellitus, which is why we strongly emphasize their dissemination. So to clarify any questions or concerns regarding what is discussed in this forum, do not hesitate to contact us.

Receive a warm greeting.
Dr. Héctor Romero Talamás.

- Brethauer S.A., Aminian A., Romero-Talamás H., Batayyah E., Mackey J., Kennedy L., Kashyap S., Kirwan J., Rogula T., Kroh M., Chand B., Schauer P.R. Can diabetes be surgically cured? Ann Surg. 2013 Oct;258(4):628-36

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