Is Bariatric Surgery the Best Option for Diabetic Teenagers?

Is Bariatric Surgery the Best Option for Diabetic Teenagers?

When comparing the progression of type 2 diabetes in teenagers with obesity treated with either medication or bariatric surgery, researchers found that surgery improved the control of diabetes better than medication alone, in a study published in JAMA Pediatrics. The study compared 30 teenagers who had bariatric surgery, and 63 teenagers who were treated non-surgically. Overall, the glycated hemoglobin decreased in the group of teenagers that had surgery and the glycated hemoglobin of patients who didn’t have surgery actually increased, demonstrating a deteriorating control of their type 2 diabetes. Additionally, the patients who had bariatric surgery showed more improvement in other complications that can occur with type 2 diabetes, such as high blood pressure. The researchers say it is becoming apparent that teenagers with type 2 diabetes show a faster progression of disease than adults and as a result bariatric surgery should be performed sooner rather than later to slow down the progression of the disease and the associated complications.

Pediatricians are fond of arguing that children are NOT just smaller sized adults, and that they require special treatment.  This study demonstrates exactly that.  Diabetic adolescents actually have a more significant type of diabetes and faster progression of the disease.  That means faster progression to blindness, heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and peripheral vascular disease and amputations.  Many parents are reluctant to allow their children to consider bariatric surgery, preferring instead to believe that their child will simply “grow out of it’, or that they are simply “big for their age”.  Diabetes is a chronic, deadly disease which should be taken VERY seriously.  Interestingly, morbid obesity is also a chronic, deadly disease which should be taken VERY seriously.

Bariatric surgery, in most cases,  can act as a “cure” for both.

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The NJBI Team