It’s no secret that weight loss surgery patients experience a handful of health benefits including a lowered risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease. A new study from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden reports that bariatric surgery is responsible for the reduction of deaths from cardiovascular causes such as heart attack and stroke. Their study looked at 2,000 middle-age obese patients who had bariatric surgery. They compared these patients to similar number of patients who didn’t have surgery, but were obese and at risk for these things.
The study was published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Associations. Its researchers evaluated these patients at 2, 10, 15 and 20 years following surgery. They found that patients had lost and kept off an average of 16-23% of their body weight. Patients who didn’t have surgery stayed around the same weight. They also report that both groups had a body mass index of over 40, which is considered morbid obese.
During the follow-ups, researchers found that patients who didn’t have surgery suffered much more heart disease and fatal strokes and heart attacks then those who had weight loss surgery. 49 cardiovascular deaths occur in patients who didn’t have surgery versus 28 for those that did. Researchers believe that surgery that reduced stomach size does have many lifesaving benefits for patients.
Ultimately obesity is one of the most preventable causes of deaths globally. Many studies both in the United States and Europe show that obesity is associated with an increased rate of heart disease, metabolic syndrome and mortality. They also lead to a range of medical disorders including high cholesterol, high blood pressure and Type II Diabetes.
Yes weight loss surgery does come with risk, whether hernias, infections or leakages, however many patients do not experience these things if they follow post-op instructions closely. Many feel that these risks should make patients think before considering surgery, but the Swedish study shows that the benefits far outweigh the risks associated with these types of surgeries.
The study’s researchers call for the National Institutes of Health to assess their evidence and provide an update on their bariatric procedures, which are 20 years old.
Another study looked at 4,047 obese men and women for an average of 15 years where there was a 33% less risk of heart attack or stroke. This study was also published in the Journal of American Medical Association. Many feel that this study may not be big enough to detect relationships between heart risk and weight loss; however it does look at an important issue that should be addressed.
Ultimately, health benefits vary from patient to patient following weight loss surgery. According to Edward H. Livingston of the University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, not every person has the same health risk. For example, none of the study participants had diabetes; however their pre-surgery levels of insulin had a lower long term risk of stroke or heart attack.
Ultimately these studies make people address their health issues before deciding bariatric surgery, which is an important self-evaluation to have in terms of safety and determining whether or not the procedure is worth their individual health situation.