Microvascular complications, which affect small blood vessels include diabetic nephropathy, neuropathy, and retinopathy, which affect the kidneys, nerves, and eyes, respectively. These diabetes-related complications are responsible for the high healthcare costs of type 2 diabetes and the leading causes of dialysis, amputations, and blindness in the Western world.
‘The risk of developing diabetic nephropathy, neuropathy, and retinopathy reduced by 4-fold in those who underwent weight loss surgery.’
Reducing the Risk of Complications
- The risk of developing microvascular diabetic complications was 4-fold reduced in patients with type 2 diabetes undergoing surgery compared with patients with current guideline-based medical therapy.
- Pre-existing diabetic nephropathy was strongly improved by surgery compared with medical treatment.
- The likelihood of improvement or remission in patients with diabetes-related kidney damage was 15-times higher after surgery compared with current medical therapy.
"Medical therapy for type 2 diabetes seems to have reached its limitations, even with the newly available drugs. Metabolic surgery strongly reduces the risk for diabetes-associated complications and seems even to improve existing diabetic kidney damage in 1 out of 2 operated patients," said lead author Dr. Adrian Billeter, of the University of Heidelberg, in Germany.
"Such strong and reliable effects, especially on very difficult-to-treat diabetic kidney damage, are not even remotely possible with the current medical therapy," added senior author Prof. Beat Muller-Stich, also of the University of Heidelberg.