A recent article on HealthDay outlined a study conducted by researchers at University of Gothenburg, Sweden that provided further evidence that weight loss surgery is an effective method of treatment for those recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. While many past studies have examined the connection between weight loss surgery and diabetes, this study focused mainly on newly diagnosed diabetic patients with a special emphasis on the long-term cost analysis of the procedure. Overall, it found that weight loss surgery was an incredibly worthwhile investment for diabetes. While most people value their health and the longevity of their lives above any economic calculation, it is nevertheless important that these studies be publicized so that insurance companies can see the true benefits of providing weight loss surgery coverage for overweight patients.
Specifically, this study shows that the cost of weight loss surgery is typically almost entirely made up for by the savings associated with reduced costs for diabetic care. This effect is especially true when the surgeries are performed soon after the patient’s diabetes diagnosis, before they are yet able to accrue a history of expensive medical treatment for the disease.
These results were so consistent that some of the physicians associated with the study even suggested that the findings may be enough to reconsider who should receive bariatric surgery. Typically, the primary factor for determining whether or not a person should be eligible for weight loss surgery coverage is their Body Mass Index (BMI) number. Weight loss surgery is often recommended for patients who either have a BMI over 40, or those over 35 who also have at least one co-morbidity associated with obesity, such as diabetes. What this study shows is that this latter group, those who may be slightly less obese but are suffering from diabetes, may in fact be the best candidates for weight loss surgery.
With the worldwide obesity epidemic at an all-time high, any study showing that it may be a good idea to broaden the guidelines of who could benefit from weight loss surgery should be seriously examined.