Weight-Loss Surgery's Many Health Benefits

People battling their weight, along with other health conditions got some good news in two studies published this month that suggest weight-loss (bariatric) surgery may improve diabetes and heart disease risk factors.

The first study, performed by researchers at Imperial College London in England, examined the results of people who had gastric bypass, a surgery that involves stapling the stomach; gastric banding, which is a band placed around the stomach that essentially makes the stomach space smaller; and sleeve gastrectomy, a surgical procedure to remove part of the stomach.

Of those who had gastric bypass, 41 percent had blood sugar levels that returned to normal, while 26 percent of sleeve gastrectomy patients got their blood sugar under control, as well as seven percent of those who had gastric banding. Obesity is just one risk factor for diabetes, but this study shows a strong bond between reducing weight and managing blood sugar.

The second study followed more than 4,000 obese people over 15 years and found that those who had bariatric surgery were 33 percent less likely to have a heart attack or stroke, and 53 percent less likely to die from one of those events. The study, based in Sweden, was published in the journal of the American Medical Association. While bariatric surgery is a relatively new procedure, we're anxious to see what other health implications it may have.

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