Diabetologists in the city said on Sunday it was inappropriate to claim that a chronic disease such as diabetes could be cured through a gastro-intestinal surgery. They were reacting to Gem Hospital's claims on Saturday that some persons who underwent a duodenal-jejunum bypass surgery were cured of diabetes.
Two diabetologists in the city – V. Rajendran and V. Sekar – said there was no scientific evidence to claim a cure.
Dr. Sekar, who is the Director of Coimbatore Diabetes Foundation and regional secretary of the Southern Chapter of the Diabetes Association India, rejected the term ‘terminal stage' of diabetes.
“Even the usage uncontrolled diabetes is not correct. It is wrong to say that in some cases drugs, diet, lifestyle modifications, exercise and insulin may not have helped in bringing down the blood glucose level,” he said.
Day-to-day readings were not the final indicators. The three-month average (HbA1C) provided a clear indication of whether the sugar level was under control.
“These cases of high sugar level may have been caused because of the patients not taking the drugs or insulin injections properly or because they had not adhered to instructions on diet and lifestyle,” he said.
Dr. Rajendran, who is the Chief Diabetologist at Sri Ramakrishna and Executive Council member of the Tamil Nadu Chapter of the Research Society for Study of Diabetes in India, said the surgery had not been approved by any leading medical body. There were safer and authenticated methods in diet, medicines, insulin and lifestyle modifications to control blood sugar and other metabolic parameters.
A surgery to cure a person of morbid obesity reduced weight and in the process the blood sugar level also came down.
“But to call this marginal effect a cure is inappropriate; it has not been validated,” Dr. Rajendran said.
This surgery was not the first line of management. “Lifestyle modification is still the mainstay in treating obesity, diabetes management and good health promotion,” he said.
“Such claims of a surgical cure will mislead people into opting for it as a quick-fix solution,” he warned.
Dr. Sekar said relating the surgery to diabetes was unscientific.
Studies for years had proved that there was no cure for diabetes and that it could be only controlled.
Dr. Rajendran said the theory of glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1) helping in producing more insulin was unacceptable.
“If there is no insulin production at all in the pancreas, how is this going to help,” he asked.
“Besides, it was too early to know of the long-term effects and ills, if any, as a result of the surgery,” he said.