Surgery Cuts Kidney Disease in Diabetes

In many cases, type 2 diabetes can be prevented or reversed through a healthy diet and exercise. When lifestyle changes don’t do the trick, obese patients can turn to weight loss surgery.

Bariatric surgery, or weight loss surgery, can prevent or reduce diabetic nephropathy (diabetes-related kidney disease) among obese patients with type 2 diabetes.
Ask your doctor about weight loss surgery.

Diabetic nephropathy is the main cause of end-stage renal disease – the complete, or almost complete, failure of kidney function.

“When we started the study, we thought bariatric surgery may just halt the progression of diabetic nephropathy,” says Helen M. Heneghan, M.D., of the Cleveland Clinic Bariatric and Metabolic Institute.

“[Instead,] over half of the patients who had diabetic nephropathy prior to undergoing bariatric surgery experienced remission. This is a remarkable finding that warrants greater consideration of bariatric surgery in this patient population,” she says.

In the past couple decades, rates of diabetic kidney disease have increased by 34 percent. Today, about seven million Americans have diabetic kidney disease, which increases the risk of heart disease and death.

From their study of 52 obese patients with type 2 diabetes, Dr. Heneghan and colleagues found that almost 60 percent of obese patients with diabetic kidney disease no longer had the condition five years after surgery.


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