Surgery gives long-term help for obese diabetics

In this Wednesday, March 26, 2014 photo, Heather Britton poses for a photo at her home in Bay Village, Ohio. New research is boosting hopes that weight-loss surgery can put some patients' diabetes into remission for years and perhaps in some cases, for good. Some patients, like Britton, have passed the five-year mark when some experts consider cure or prolonged remission a possibility. Before the study, she was taking drugs for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol; she takes none now. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
In this Wednesday, March 26, 2014 photo, Heather Britton poses for a photo at her home in Bay Village, Ohio. New research is boosting hopes that weight-loss surgery can put some patients' diabetes into remission for years and perhaps in some cases, for good. Some patients, like Britton, have passed the five-year mark when some experts consider cure or prolonged remission a possibility. Before the study, she was taking drugs for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol; she takes none now. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

WASHINGTON (AP) — New research is boosting hopes that weight-loss surgery can put some patients’ diabetes into remission for years and perhaps in some cases, for good.

Longer follow-up from a major study shows that stomach-reducing operations are better than medications for treating “diabesity,” the deadly duo of obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Millions of Americans have this and can’t make enough insulin or use what they do make to process food.

After three years, blood-sugar levels were normal in 38 percent and 25 percent of two groups given surgery, but in only 5 percent of those treated with medications.

Doctors won’t call it a cure because they can’t guarantee diabetes will never return, but they hope for long-term remission.

The study was discussed Monday at a cardiology conference in Washington.

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