Weight-loss or bariatric surgeries are not usually performed in people above the age of 65. But researchers, including Indian-origin, have now found that these procedures could lead to successful weight loss and better diabetes control in older adults.
The study, presented at the Society for Endocrinology annual conference in Brighton, UK, indicates that elderly patients treated with bariatric surgery (gastric bypass or gastric sleeve) can recover well and have a reduced risk of obesity-related complications, including heart disease and diabetes.
"Although based on a small number of patients, our data suggest that successful weight loss and improved diabetes control can be safely achieved with surgery in older patients, which could have real benefits for their longevity and quality of life," said study researcher Nader Lessan from the Abu Dhabi-based Imperial College London Diabetes Centre.
Lessan and the study's co-author Saradalekshmi Radha assessed the results of 22 patients who had attended their medical centre and who had undergone weight loss surgery after the age of 65.
Two years after weight-loss surgery, the patients had, on an average, lost 24 per cent of their original body weight.
In addition, of the 11 patients who had been on insulin to control their type 2 diabetes, four no longer needed it, while for others, the total insulin dose required had significantly decreased.
The only adverse effects reported during the two year period were iron and vitamin D deficiencies, which happen in younger patients too.
"Management of obesity and diabetes in old age is challenging. There is a lot of scepticism around conducting weight-loss surgery in patients over 65," Lessan said.
"Our study suggests these procedures could be considered in older adults as an effective intervention to aid weight loss and associated complications."