Abstract Background To examine the effects of gastric bypass surgery on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in obese patients with type 2 diabetes, and to investigate their experiences of life adjustments using quantitative and qualitative methods. Methods Thirteen patients with type 2 diabetes and obesity, (body mass index, BMI > 30 kg/m2), participating in a randomized clinical trial, completed this sub-study. HRQoL was evaluated before, and at 6 months and 2 years after gastric bypass surgery, using the RAND- 36-item health survey. At 2 years, interviews for in-depth analysis of HRQoL changes were performed. Results Significant improvement was observed from baseline to 6 months for 2 of the eight health concepts, general health, and emotional well-being. At 2 years, improvements were also seen in physical functioning, energy/fatigue, as well as sustained improvements in general health and emotional well-being. Multiple regression analyses showed mostly non-significant associations between the magnitude of decrease in weight, BMI, and HbA1c during follow-up and improvement in HRQoL. The analyses from qualitative interviews supported a common latent theme “Finding a balance between the experience of the new body weight and self-confidence”. Conclusions The improved HRQoL after gastric bypass surgery in obese patients with type 2 diabetes was not explained specifically by the magnitude of weight loss, but rather by the participants achieving a state of union between body and consciousness. Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT02729246. Date of registration 6 April 2016 – Retrospectively registered https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02729246?term=bariglykos&draw=2&rank=1
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