Weight loss surgery lowers risk of heart problems

Research has shown obesity increases the risk of death, heart attack and stroke.

Now, a new study shows weight loss surgery can potentially reverse the risk of heart-related diseases, and death, in people who struggle with obesity. “For six major heart-related outcomes there was a 39 percent lower risk in those that underwent surgery compared with those that got the usual medical care, and there was a 41 percent reduction in the risk of death,” said senior author Steven Nissen, M.D., Chief Academic Officer for Cleveland Clinic’s Heart and Vascular Institute.

The study looked at 13,722 people who were diagnosed with obesity and type two diabetes. Of the participants, 2, 287 had weight loss surgery, and the rest received usual medical care.

Both groups were followed for eight years to determine if anyone developed major heart-related diseases. Results show a 39 percent lower risk for heart-related diseases in the surgery group. This included lower risk for coronary artery events, cerebrovascular events, heart failure, nephropathy, atrial fibrillation, and all-cause mortality. The data also showed a 41 percent reduction in death risk for people who underwent weight-loss surgery.

“There are very few therapies in treating heart disease that come close to having this big of an effect,” said Dr. Nissen. In addition to fewer heart issues, Dr. Nissen said diabetes improved in the surgery group as well. He said many people in the surgery group were able to stop taking insulin, and required fewer blood pressure medications after surgery. Study results were presented at the European Society of Cardiology meeting in Paris, France by Ali Aminian, M.D.

The full study can be found online in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

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