Research proves surgery beats medical therapy alone when treating diabetes

Chan Park

by Chan Park, MD

A recent research study confirmed what bariatric surgeons have been saying for years: surgery is more effective than medical therapy alone when it comes to treating diabetes.* In a study of morbidly obese individuals with diabetes, researchers compared intensive medical therapy alone versus bariatric surgery to see which treatment had the greatest impact on diabetes. Over a 3-year study period, patients who received bariatric surgery enjoyed significantly better outcomes versus those who received intensive medical therapy. In fact, most patients who received medical therapy alone had worse hemoglobin A1c levels (a marker of long term blood sugar control) and required higher doses of medications as the study progressed, while a number of surgery patients were able to stop taking diabetes medications within days of the operation.

Bariatric surgery (commonly referred to as weight loss surgery) is indicated for morbidly obese individuals who may also have associated medical illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, etc. Most patients who receive bariatric surgery enjoy dramatic improvements in all of these medical conditions in addition to their significant weight loss. The surgery is performed with a minimally invasive approach using tiny incisions and a long skinny camera called the laparoscope. The risk of complications is remarkably low, and recovery after surgery requires little more than an overnight stay in the hospital.

To find out more about the most effective treatment for your diabetes, or to learn more about bariatric surgery, the Duke Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery invites you to attend one of our free seminars. Visit dukewls.org to find an upcoming seminar and to register.

(*Schauer, et al. Bariatric surgery versus intensive medical therapy for diabetes: 3-year outcomes. NEJM 2014)

Pesky Ticks and Mosquitoes

From the Department of Health and Human Services of North Carolina. . .

154355003With summer fast approaching and people spending more time outdoors, it is important for everyone to take precautions against tick and mosquito bites. Tick and mosquito borne infections cause illnesses and deaths in North Carolina each year, with more than 800 cases reported in 2013.

To encourage awareness of this issue, Governor McCrory recently proclaimed April 2014 as “Tick and Mosquito Awareness Month” in North Carolina.

“Ticks and mosquitoes are very common in our state, and they can carry germs that cause serious infections,” said Carl Williams, DHHS’ State Public Health Veterinarian. “The good news is that many of these infections can be prevented by following some basic control measures.”

Tick borne diseases in North Carolina include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, and ehrlichiosis. These diseases are diagnosed from all regions of the state and can be acquired at any time of year. However, the vast majority of infections occur in the months of June through September.

Mosquito borne diseases are less common than tick borne illness, but severe infections due to LaCrosse virus and West Nile virus are reported every year, including cases of encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain.

The North Carolina Division of Public Health encourages the following activities to help protect against illness caused by ticks and mosquitoes:

  • Avoid tick habitat, which includes wooded, grassy or brushy areas and wear repellents
  • If you find a tick attached to your body, carefully remove it by grasping the tick with fine tipped tweezers as close as possible to your skin and apply a steady gentle pressure until it releases.
  • Use a mosquito repellent when you are outside and exposed to mosquitoes.
  • Mosquito proof your home by installing or repairing screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes outside and use air conditioning if you have it.
  • Reduce mosquito breeding by emptying standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires, and birdbaths on a regular basis.

While it is not possible to prevent all cases of tick and mosquito borne illness, you can greatly reduce your risk by following these basic control measures.

“It is a great time to enjoy North Carolina outdoors,” said Williams. “Just be mindful to take the appropriate steps to protect yourself and your family.”

For more information about tick and mosquito borne infections, visit http://epi.publichealth.nc.gov/cd/diseases/vector.html.

 

Pastoral Services

Lisa

Reverend Lisa Brown Cole, Director of Pastoral Care

Duke Regional Hospital provides 24/7 Chaplain support for patients, their loved ones and staff through the ministry of Reverend Lisa Brown Cole, Director of Pastoral Care, Reverend Linda Russell Young, Staff Chaplain, and an Adjunct Clergy Staff made up of volunteer community clergy who assist with evening and weekend needs.

The Chaplains work with all faiths by providing spiritual and emotional support to help patients and their families cope with their hospital experience using the patient’s or family member’s religious beliefs and values. The spiritual and emotional needs of our patients are an important part of the care offered at Duke Regional. Patients or loved ones may ask their nurse or doctor to contact a Chaplain, or they may call the Chaplain’s office directly at 919-470-5363.

Additionally, a Chapel Service is held every Tuesday at 1 pm in the Hospital’s Chapel, located near the main entrance. The Chapel is open at all times for prayer and reflection, and resources from a variety of faith traditions are available.