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What is an EndoBarrier and what it has to do with diabetes medication? This is a question that would rise in the minds of people who have not heard about this long, flexible, tube-like device lately being used in the treatment of obese and diabetic patients. This device is placed in the small intestine to prevent the mixing of food particles with digestive enzymes. Very soon EndoBarrier is expected to substitute the bariatric surgery, the weight reduction procedure that is currently relied upon by doctors to treat morbid or severe obesity.
Obesity and diabetes are closely linked
Obesity, the excessive accumulation of fat in the body, is a risk to health in many ways.
These diseases are the major causes of deaths worldwide and hence prevention and treatment of obesity has an important role in preventing these conditions.
Obese people are at a significantly higher risk of developing type-2 diabetes mellitus compared to normal population. While type-1 diabetes mellitus is a consequence of insufficient insulin production, type-2 diabetes occurs due to the body’s resistance to insulin. Obesity plays its part in the development of insulin resistance. Endocrine, inflammatory and neuronal pathways are proposed to be involved in this obesity-induced insulin resistance. Treatment of obesity aims primary to address this issue and its consequence – the high blood sugar level.
Bariatric surgery controls obesity and keep in check diabetes mellitus
Controlling obesity is not as easy as it is said. Weight reduction measures like diet control, physical exercise, avoiding sedentary life style etc., need strict adherence while anti-obesity drugs do not always provide much expected long term benefits. In serious cases, the best method to achieve the desirable effects in weight reduction is by surgery.
Studies show encouraging results regarding bariatric surgery. This procedure involves surgical reduction of the size of stomach and removal of upper parts of small intestine. In addition to the weight reduction, improvement in type-2 diabetes is also seen in obese diabetic patients who have undergone this surgery.
Apart from this, there are strong evidences showing improvement or complete remission of the other co-morbid conditions like hypertension and high cholesterol level that are associated with obesity. In fact, studies show that bariatric surgery has a primary independent effect in controlling type-2 diabetes mellitus rather than the effect secondary to weight reduction. These findings support the importance of performing this surgery in morbidly obese patients especially those with diabetes.
EndoBarrier is less invasive compared to bariatric surgery
Though various studies show evidence that bariatric surgery is a better solution when compared to medical treatments for morbid obesity, the procedure is not free of disadvantages. Being a type of bypass surgery, it has side effects like leakage from the site of anastomosis (connection between the two cut-ends of gastrointestinal tract), bleeding, infection, malabsorption (especially iron deficiency) and many others. A small number of people may also need additional surgery.
Hence appears the necessity for a procedure that can overcome these disadvantages of bariatric surgery and promise to offer advantages like weight loss, diabetes control and heart disease prevention in a less invasive manner.