When diet and exercise fail, bariatric surgery can help you find weight loss success. Those familiar with the basics of weight-loss surgery understand that bariatric procedures are designed to help people feel satisfied with smaller amounts of food, so weight loss becomes less of a struggle.
There are undeniable benefits of surgically assisted weight loss having little to do with the contours of your silhouette. People who struggle with obesity are at a much higher risk of developing potentially devastating health complications. To fully understand the impact bariatric surgery could have on your life, it's important to know how losing weight could improve your health.
Weight Loss Surgery Could Be Right for You
Of course, weight loss surgery isn't right for everyone. Bariatric surgery requires a significant amount of commitment and a willingness to adapt to necessary changes. But if you are between the ages of 18 and 65 and have at least 100 pounds to lose, bariatric surgery could be your answer to improving and retaining your health. Other factors for qualification include:
- A BMI of 40 or more
- A BMI of at least 35 with weight-related health issues
- A history of unsuccessful weight loss attempts
After weight loss surgery, losing weight is less of a struggle. In addition to restricting the amount of food you will eat at a time; some surgical procedures also alter how many of the calories you consume are utilized by your body. Research shows that in the weeks, months, and years after their procedures, those who have bariatric surgery fare much better than obese individuals who do not.
How Bariatric Surgery Could Improve Your Health
People who struggle with obesity have a much higher risk of illness. That means those who are significantly overweight are also likely to spend more money on doctor visits and medications than those of average weight. Losing weight after bariatric surgery can improve your health and may even prolong your life. That's not an exaggeration. While there are many potential health benefits of bariatric surgery, consider the following six benefits backed by science.
#1 Improving or Reversing Type 2 Diabetes
Obesity causes an increase in fatty acids and inflammation that contribute to insulin resistance. Once your cells stop responding to insulin, blood sugar levels increase. Insulin resistance can eventually progress to type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can damage your cardiovascular system, kidneys, eyes, and cause severe nerve pain (neuropathy).
In a study comparing medical and surgical weight loss intervention, non-surgical weight loss methods reduced new-onset type 2 diabetes by 14 -56 percent, while studies declared bariatric surgery 90 percent effective for preventing the onset. Later research shows that those who experience remission of their type 2 diabetes after bariatric surgery remained free of the condition 12 years later.
#2 Improving the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Those who are overweight are at an increased risk of developing sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when the upper airways are blocked repeatedly during sleep, obstructing breathing. As muscles relax during sleep, increased fat deposits in the neck can block airflow, increasing your risk of stroke, heart attack, and heart rhythm irregularities.
You may be surprised to learn that more than 45 percent of patients opting for bariatric surgery are already diagnosed with sleep apnea. In a study to determine the effects of weight loss surgery on sleep apnea, it may be quite reassuring to note that bariatric surgery is shown to improve and even resolve sleep apnea, causing remission in 80-85 percent of cases.
#3 Alleviating Joint Pain
Excess weight puts a significant strain on weight-bearing joints, particularly the joints of the knees ankles and hips, resulting in joint pain and eventually joint damage. Weight loss after bariatric surgery eliminates a significant amount of strain on overworked joints. As weight loss continues, many find their need for pain-relieving medication decreases as mobility improves.
Researchers tracked 2,200 people that had undergone weight loss surgery in the US. Three years after their procedure, 57 percent of patients with significant mobility limitations no longer had a problem with activity. Of those who reported severe knee, hip, or joint pain, 70 percent reported improvements in function with a decrease in pain.
#4 Reducing Your Risk of Cancer
While the reasons are not fully understood, evidence suggests that higher amounts of body fat increase your risk of cancer. Those who are overweight are nearly twice as likely to develop esophageal cancer, liver cancer, and kidney cancer. The risk of colorectal cancer increases by thirty percent, and overweight women are up to four times more likely to develop endometrial cancer.
Researchers are investigating the impact of bariatric surgery on cancer risk for patients with a significant amount of excess weight. During the investigation, researchers tracked patients through hospital and clinic databases. The study concluded that, as a group, those undergoing bariatric surgery had fewer incidences of cancer than those who were morbidly obese but did not elect to have weight-loss surgery.
#5 Improving Fertility
Many people don't' realize that excess weight can reduce fertility. That's because obesity can cause hormonal changes, irregular menstrual cycles, low testosterone, and erectile dysfunction. Both men and women are often pleased to know that these conditions commonly improve after weight loss surgery.
Research shows that many women with obesity-related fertility issues start ovulating regularly after losing weight with bariatric surgery. Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) often find that post-surgical weight loss resolves their reproductive and metabolic problems. While fertility levels may improve, women are commonly advised to wait a minimum of 18 months after surgery before getting pregnant.
#6 Reducing Hypertension
Weight loss surgery is shown to have a direct correlation with reducing your likelihood of a heart attack and stroke. Weight loss surgery is shown to reduce your risk of heart disease and can even reverse hypertension, a condition that affects more than 65 percent of those who are significantly overweight. Hypertension can damage your organs, including your heart, kidneys, and eyes while increasing your risk for a cardiovascular event. Research shows that during the active weight loss phase after bariatric surgery, blood pressure commonly decreases and medication is often unnecessary.
Obesity can have a profound impact on your health. Weight loss surgery can reduce your risk of heart disease, improve fertility, and even reverse type 2 diabetes in many cases. To learn more about bariatric surgery, or determine if you are a potential candidate for this life-altering procedure, contact a bariatric surgical center near you to schedule a consultation.