A new study from Cleveland Clinic Bariatric and Metabolic Institute suggests that weight loss surgery may improve kidney damage in obese patients with Type 2 diabetes. The researchers followed 52 patients with an average age of 51 years who had lived with diabetes for an average of almost nine years; more than a third of these patients had diabetic kidney disease before bariatric surgery. 84% had hypertension. Using the urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio test to determine kidney function, the researchers found that after five years, 58% percent no longer showed signs of protein in their urine or kidney damage. 42% experienced no change in microalbuminuria. 25% of the patients who had not had signs of kidney damage before surgery did go on to develop albuminuria.
Interestingly, 44% of patients experienced remission of their diabetes and were able to stop taking insulin and in some cases, blood pressure medications. 33% of the patients experienced significant improvement of their diabetes. The researchers determined that the remaining patients with no improvement or worsening of their disease had lost the least amount of weight and had suffered from diabetes for the longest period of time before surgery.
The researchers believe the positive effects of bariatric surgery on kidney health could be due to improvements in blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity as well as reversal of hypertension. According to one expert, a larger study comparing diabetics who did not undergo weight loss surgery is needed to confirm these findings.
Bariatric Surgery Yields Durable Results for Diabetic Nephropathy, Clinical Endocrinology News, July 9, 2012
Bariatric Surgery May Help Diabetic Kidney Diease, WebMD, June 21, 2012