Bariatric surgery isn’t just about feeling more comfortable in your own skin– it’s also about reducing your risk for some preventable conditions, and in some cases, reversing existing health problems.
Many patients experience the following positive health benefits following bariatric surgery:
- Diabetes Control
Did you know that weight loss surgery is an effective tool for preventing, treating and even resolving diabetes in some cases? Studies show that in a number of patients, weight-loss surgery completely resolves or significantly improves type 2 diabetes. As a result, patients can often stop or reduce diabetes treatments such as insulin and medications. Weight loss surgery can also reduce the risk of diabetes complications, such as blindness, limb amputation, kidney disease, and stroke.
- Lower Cholesterol
Gastric bypass surgery can help lower cholesterol and improve the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL (good) cholesterol. The American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) sites studies reporting that within just six months of gastric bypass, nearly all patients with high cholesterol had normal blood cholesterol levels and 91 percent of patients who were on statins or other lipid-lowering drugs before surgery no longer needed them. Even after six years, all patients were off medication.
- Normal Blood Pressure
Seventy percent of patients who have high blood pressure and who are taking medications to control it are able to stop all medications and have a normal blood pressure, usually within two to three months after surgery. When medications are still required, their dosage can often be lowered, with reduction of medication side effects.
- Lowered Risk for Heart Disease
Although it can’t be stated that heart disease is reduced by weight loss surgery, the improvement in problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes certainly suggests that improvement in risk is very likely. In one recent study, the risk of death from cardiovascular disease was profoundly reduced in diabetic patients who are particularly susceptible to this problem.
- Improved Asthma/Respiratory Conditions
Most asthmatics find that they have fewer and less severe attacks, or sometimes none at all. Improvement of exercise tolerance and breathing ability usually occurs within the first few months after surgery. Often, patients who have barely been able to walk find that they are able to participate in family activities and even sports.
- Sleep Apnea Relief
Dramatic relief of sleep apnea occurs as our patients lose weight. Many report that within a year of surgery their symptoms were completely gone, and they had even stopped snoring altogether – and their spouses agree. Many patients who require an accessory breathing apparatus to treat sleep apnea no longer need it after surgically induced weight loss.
- Gastroesophageal (Acid) Reflux Disease Relief
Relief of all symptoms of reflux usually occurs within a few days of surgery for nearly all patients.
- Improvement of Stress Urinary Incontinence
This condition responds dramatically to weight loss and usually becomes completely controlled. A person who is still troubled by incontinence can choose to have specific corrective surgery later, with much greater chance of a successful outcome with a reduced body weight.
- Low Back Pain, Degenerative Disk Disease, and Degenerative Joint Disease Relief
Patients usually experience considerable relief of pain and disability from degenerative arthritis and disk disease and from pain in the weight-bearing joints. This relief tends to occur early, usually with the first 25 to 30 pounds lost. If there is nerve irritation or structural damage already present, it may not be reversed by weight loss and some pain may persist.
- Improved Fertility
Weight loss surgery may help infertility in obese women especially those that are infertile due to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Significant weight loss after surgery can help restore normal menstrual cycles, reduce high androgen levels, and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes; all which plays a role in a woman’s fertility.
Your doctor will be able to answer any questions you may have about weight loss surgery, as well as if the procedure is right for you.