Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Could Now be Treated with a Heated Balloon


Diabetes Treatment

London: Patients with type 2 diabetes could be treated with a heated balloon to regenerate cells key to controlling blood sugar. Rahul Kumar, 48, an IT consultant from Bromley, South-East London, was one of the first to benefit, as he tells Carol Davis.


THE PATIENT: Eating out has always been one of my favourite things to do, and I have a sweet tooth. I was also pretty lazy. But when my employer sent me for blood tests as part of my annual health MOT when I was 34, I was shocked to find my blood sugar levels were high.

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I was pre-diabetic normal levels are below 6 mmol/L, and mine were hovering above this.

My GP advised healthy eating and exercise. So, for months, my wife Puja cooked me healthy meals, but gradually, my old ways crept back in. By the end of 2007, I was diabetic. My blood sugar had reached 7.5 and I weighed 91kg (14st 4lb) — at 5ft 8in, my body mass index (BMI) was 29.7, most certainly overweight.

To be honest, I’d thought type 2 diabetes was only for old people, but there was no doubting I had the symptoms — I was tired, often thirsty and had to urinate a lot because my kidneys were working hard to get rid of the excess blood sugar.

I regretted not taking proper action when I was first warned. My GP prescribed metformin tablets, which lower the amount of sugar produced in the liver and make the cells more responsive to insulin. I was miserable to think I’d be on medication for life. I also needed regular eye checks, since high blood sugar can damage the blood vessels in the eye.

My blood sugar levels kept rising, so my GP added two more forms of medication — gliclazide and saxagliptin — to make my body produce more insulin, but nothing kept it under control, and my blood sugar levels reached 9.9 ten years after I was diagnosed. My GP warned me I would soon need regular insulin injections. I hated the thought of that.

But then an advertisement for a diabetes trial popped up while I was browsing online. Most ads are for medication that appears to have untested side-effects, but this seemed different. So I filled in a form, and the marketing agency called me.

In March 2017, I saw a specialist at King’s College Hospital, who was involved in the Revita-2 trial.

He explained to me that the procedure involved putting a small, flexible tube into the gut through the mouth and then inflating a balloon filled with hot water into the duodenum, the bit of the intestine that lies below the stomach and absorbs nutrients and signals for insulin to be released.

In people with type 2 diabetes, the cells in the duodenum don’t work as effectively, so the hot balloon would burn away these old cells and allow new, working cells to grow in their place. He said the procedure would take around an hour. I felt that I had nothing to lose — I didn’t want to go on insulin, yet needed to control the type 2 diabetes.

I met Dr Bu Hayee, the consultant gastroenterologist who would be doing the procedure, in May 2017, and had the treatment under general anaesthetic that day. I felt woozy afterwards and had a sore throat for a few days.

I lived on watery soups while the area healed, before moving on to yoghurt and other mushy food for 15 days. On this restricted diet, I started losing weight — in the end, I shed 9kg (20lb) over two months and had higher energy levels, too.

Since the surgery had given me a kick-start, I started walking more and playing badminton, and stuck to a healthy diet. I felt great. My blood sugar levels slowly dropped back to around 7, where they are now.

With my healthy eating and exercise, I’m hoping to reduce that further — I now weigh 83kg (just over 13st), so I’ve lost well over a stone overall. While I still take metformin and two other medications, I’m hoping to reduce this, and will no longer need insulin.

The doctors say that my type 2 diabetes has responded far better to the surgery than it could have done to losing weight alone. via dailymail

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