Indian doctor claims diabetes cure with keyhole surgery

Dr R Padmakumar, Senior Consultant Surgeon and Medical Director of Sunrise Group of Hospitals (SUPPLIED)

An Indian surgeon specialised in obesity and diabetes has been approved by the UAE Ministry of Health to conduct keyhole excess fat removal surgery.

Dr R Padmakumar, Senior Consultant Surgeon and Medical Director of Sunrise Group of Hospitals, said that already 100 patients have undergone keyhole surgery for diabetes and the success rate is 92 per cent.

“Excess fat in the body is like poison that affects the functioning of other body parts, including the pancreas. By removing excess fat from the stomach through keyhole surgeries, patients with Type 2 diabetes can become normal, within one day of the surgery.”

“The International Diabetic Federation (IDF) has also now recognised keyhole excess fat removal as a cure for diabetics. The keyhole surgery on a diabetic with any body mass (obese or normal) will cost between Dh50,000 to Dh70,000 in the UAE and Rs300,000- 350,000 in India,” he said.

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“We have successfully conducted such procedure on about 100 patients, including many NRIs from the UAE and other Gulf countries. Many of these patients are happy and their life expectancy has been extended. We don’t advise the surgery on patients undergoing dialysis or those who have undergone angioplasty or other heart surgeries, because they cannot bear such an operation.”

Dr Padmakumar said patients taking regular medication or insulin spend between Dh3,000-4,000 per month. Thus spending money for a keyhole surgery is worth it. He said insurance companies have not yet approved keyhole surgery for treatment for those suffering from diabetes, but since the Ministry of Health in the UAE has approved it, he will persuade insurance companies to follow suit.

“Diabetic surgery is an appropriate treatment for people with Type 2 diabetes who do not achieve recommended targets with medical therapies, especially when there are other major co-morbidities. These procedures are not useful for Type 1 diabetic patients.”

“We are going to do this surgery in the International Modern Hospital, Dubai. This is the first time in the GCC that a surgeon has been allowed to perform keyhole surgery as a cure for diabetics. Twenty per cent of the population in the UAE suffers from diabetics and they spend several million dirhams to find a cure for the disease, but due to the side effects of the medicines, patients suffer other complications like depression. Citing examples of diabetic drugs removed from the market, he said the keyhole surgery is not directly impacting the pancreas glands, but instead, the surgeon removes excess fat from a portion of the patients stomach, secreting bad hormones. In the surgery, the small intensive which discrete good hormones is repositioned. We are not doing anything directly on the pancreas gland,” he revealed.

The global prevalence of Type 2 diabetes is growing. According to the International Diabetic Federation, there are 825 million diabetic patients worldwide and it poised to grow to 438 million by 2030 – affecting 8 per cent of global population and another half a billion people, 9 per cent of world population, are at risk of diabetes. The UAE has 20 per cent population suffering from diabetes, second largest in the world. India too tops the list with number one position.

Dr Sunil Roy, a Dubai-based cardiologist working for the Belhoul Speciality Hospital, says most of the members of the All Kerala Medical Graduates Association have positive opinion about the keyhole surgery treatment for diabetics. “Traditionally, keyhole surgery has been used for weight reduction and obesity patients. Now it has been proved that surgery for weight reduction will be useful in controlling diabetes. This technique has been found useful in many cases. The only problem is that the general public and patients are not aware of the key hole surgery treatment for diabetics.”

Diabetics have higher risk of death from cancer

Doctors know that diabetics have a higher than normal risk of dying of heart attacks or strokes, but new research shows that having diabetes also ups the risk of dying from many cancers and other diseases.

The findings shed light on the potential burden of disease that will build in the future as the number of cases of diabetes is predicted to rise dramatically in coming decades.

"These findings highlight even the need to prevent diabetes and to understand it better," said Emanuele Di Angelantonio of Britain's Cambridge University, who worked on the study as part of an international collaboration.

"The study shows that diabetes is not only a cardiovascular risk factor, but is linked to other conditions as well."

The research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), collated and analyzed data from 97 previous studies involving more than 820,000 people worldwide.

It found that being a diabetic hiked the odds of dying from cancer by 25 percent, and also heightened the risk of death from infection, kidney and liver disease.

The risk of death was only higher in people with poorly controlled diabetes, however, as indicated by high blood sugar levels after a fast.

Among the biggest cancer risks for diabetics were liver and pancreatic cancer, colorectal or bowel cancer, and lung cancer.

Diabetes is reaching epidemic levels with an estimated 280 million people, or 6.4 percent of the world's population, suffering from it and numbers predicted to rise further as obesity rates also increase.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says up to a third of US adults could have diabetes by 2050 they continue to gain weight and shun exercise.

Another study published this week found that millions of people with diabetes are undiagnosed or poorly treated, raising their risk of early death from heart disease and of serious complications like blindness and chronic kidney disease.

The Cambridge-led study found that aside from cancer and vascular diseases such as stroke, diabetes was also associated with deaths from many other causes including renal disease, liver disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, mental disorders, pneumonia, other infectious diseases.

"A 50-year-old with diabetes died, on average, six years earlier than a counterpart without diabetes," said Cambridge University's John Danesh, who also worked on the study.

The study did not look at why these death rates were higher among diabetics, so the researchers could not say whether diabetes link was simply a proxy for generally poorer health.

"Preventing diabetes becomes that much easier when we have a complete picture of the debilitating effect it has across the body and we know what steps to take to mitigate the damage," said Stephen Holgate of Britain's Medical Research Council, which part-funded the study.

Quarter of UAE diabetic by 2020

People with diabetes should mix aerobics with weight training to get the best results in lowering blood sugar, a new study suggests. The combination worked best for weight loss too, compared to aerobics or weight training alone. . (AP)

One in three UAE residents could have diabetes or prediabetes by the end of the decade, according to a new analysis from international health and well-being company UnitedHealth Group released on Tuesday at the World Health Care Congress Middle East meeting in Abu Dhabi.

“As an innovative and technologically advanced country, the UAE is well positioned to make diabetes prevention a top priority and serve as an example to other countries in the region, and around the world.”

The report, “Diabetes in the United Arab Emirates: Crisis or Opportunity?,” estimated that 32 per cent of the country’s adult population, including both UAE nationals and expatriates, may have diabetes or prediabetes by 2020 at a cost of $8.52 billion (Dh31.27 billion) over the next decade if current trends continue.

“These new estimates highlight the urgent need for further action to stem the oncoming tidal wave of diabetes-related illness and related costs in the UAE,” said Simon Stevens, executive vice president, UnitedHealth Group, and president of its Global Health division. “The good news is that curbing this epidemic is possible, since type 2 diabetes is largely preventable. The way forward begins with building on some of the innovative ideas now being tested in the UAE and bringing them to scale, informed by interventions and programs that have been shown to work in other countries facing similar challenges.”

Currently in the UAE, it is estimated that the vast majority of cases of prediabetes and about 35 per cent of cases of diabetes remain undiagnosed, representing lost opportunities to avoid the costs and complications of a largely preventable disease. If left uncontrolled, type 2 diabetes can lead to severe complications, such as heart and kidney disease, nerve damage, blindness and limb amputation. Medical costs due to diabetes and prediabetes in the UAE may rise to an annual $1.04 billion (Dh5.14 billion) by 2020, representing a 58 per cent increase from an estimated $657 million (Dh2.41 billion) in 2010, according to the report.

Worldwide, the prevalence of diabetes and prediabetes has increased dramatically over the past two decades on a parallel track with the global increase in obesity. More than 285 million people around the globe have diabetes. Without intervention that figure is expected to climb to 438 million people within 20 years.

Type 2 Diabetes

According to some estimates, the UAE’s type 2 diabetes rate is among the top five countries in the world. In the UAE, about 13 per cent of the population between 20 and 79 years of age has diabetes – more than double the global average of 6.4 per cent.

Being overweight or obese is one of the primary risk factors for type 2 diabetes. According to the World Health Organization, about 73 per cent of adult women and 66 per cent of men in the UAE weigh more than recommended by physicians, placing the country in the top five worldwide in terms of what clinicians consider “obesity.”

“The epidemic of type 2 diabetes and its warning sign, prediabetes, are sweeping across the globe imposing severe health consequences and straining the financial resources of health care systems everywhere,” said Mr. Stevens. “As an innovative and technologically advanced country, the UAE is well positioned to make diabetes prevention a top priority and serve as an example to other countries in the region, and around the world.”

Controlling diabetes

  • Screening and Diagnosis: There is an opportunity to reduce the number of people who would develop prediabetes or diabetes by offering straightforward screening tests to people with known risk factors (overweight, inactivity, hypertension, abnormal blood lipid levels, cardiovascular disease, family history and belonging to a high-risk ethnic population). This is an important first step toward health, building on the important initiatives now taking place in some emirates.
  • Intervention and Prevention: Enabling and encouraging people to make better lifestyle decisions about diet and exercise directly address the principal risk factors of obesity and inactivity. Intervention studies of people with prediabetes in China, Finland, India, Sweden and the United States have uniformly shown reductions in the progression to type 2 diabetes.
  • Disease Management and Control: People with type 2 diabetes who actively manage their condition can more readily avoid the devastating complications related to the disease. This entails careful monitoring of blood sugar levels, taking any prescribed medications as instructed, maintaining weight loss, and increasing the use of self-care measures such as daily foot inspection, and regular eye and dental examinations.

The best hope of turning the tide on the evolving diabetes crisis in the UAE is by establishing community-based initiatives in collaboration with government public health agencies, nonprofit organizations and the private sector that can help to build public awareness about diabetes and its risk factors and modernize health care systems’ ability to use sophisticated data analytics, new technology, and innovative care models that engage consumers in new ways.