The 3 Week Diet

Bariatric Surgery can Help Reduce Deaths from Heart Attack and Stroke

Obesity rates have significantly increased in the United States during the last 25 years. Roughly one-third of all adults in the U.S. (33.8%) and about 17% of children between the ages of two and 19 are obese. A look at statistics released by the Center of Disease Control in 2010 show that obesity ranks as a national epidemic, as not one state possesses a prevalence of obesity less than 20%. Thirty-six states possessed a rate of at least 25%, and 12 states, located mostly in the area of the country referred to as the Bible belt, have an obesity prevalence of over 30%.

Considering these staggering numbers, it should come as little surprise that the number of bariatric surgical procedures has steadily increased during this same period of time. From approximately 16,000 procedures performed each year in the early 90s, the number of bariatric surgical procedures rose to over to 220,000 in 2008, according to statistics complied from the American Society for Bariatric Surgery. A potential contributing factor to this procedure’s surge in popularity is the recommendation from the U.S. National Institute of Health that anyone with a body mass index of 40 or more, which the U.S. government considers morbidly obese, should consider undergoing the surgery.

ObesityBariatric surgery actually refers to several different surgical procedures designed to help patients lose weight. Reducing the size of a patient’s stomach by implanting a gastric band, removing a portion of the stomach, or performing a gastric bypass to re-rout a portion of the small intestine to a pouch in the stomach are all considered bariatric surgical procedures. The benefits of these procedures range from weight loss to a decreased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Recently, researchers at the University of Gothenberg in Sweden have discovered that bariatric surgical procedures also reduce the number of deaths caused by heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular disease. In a study that followed over 2,000 middle-aged obese individuals, researchers determined that patients who underwent surgery lost and kept off between 16 and 23 percent of their pre-surgery weight. Researchers followed up on patients every 2, 10, 15, and 20 years, and found patients who did not have the surgery suffered a higher rate of heart disease, and fatal heart attacks and strokes.

While benefits of bariatric surgery seem clearly defined, gastric bypass surgery carries the risk of infection, hemorrhage, hernia, and the possibility the stomach could leak into the abdomen. Many patients who undergo a bariatric procedure often end up putting back on the weight initially lost after the surgery.

Timothy Lemke is a health and nutrition enthusiast living in Portland, Oregon who enjoys reading the blog of Dr. Donald Lanahan, a dentist in Grant’s Pass.

By: Timothy Lemke

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    Category: Weight Management

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