Weight loss procedures often gain a bad rap in the medical world. Some insurances won’t cover the procedures because they’re considered cosmetic rather than necessary. However, recent studies show that bariatric surgeries are actually often essential for health, and can have some real benefits in reducing the risk of heart disease.
Heart Disease Risks and Obesity
According to the CDC, more than 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year, accounting for one out of every four deaths. It’s the leading cause of death for both men and women, and it’s an epidemic without an end in sight.
Heart disease is very preventable for most people, but often, nothing is done to stop it. Though genetic factors are the cause of heart disease for many people, the biggest contributor is obesity. Excess fat and poor eating habits can lead to clogged arteries and other physical barriers that prevent the heart from functioning properly.
The connection between heart disease being the number one cause of death and obesity is clear. Approximately two-thirds of the United States population is considered overweight or obese. Anyone with this problem has a much higher risk of developing heart disease, and the majority of obese people will develop heart disease at some point.
Doctors everywhere are trying to raise awareness at the debilitating effects of obesity. They and government institutions have called obesity an epidemic, and they urge individual patients and the masses to lose weight in order to preserve their lives.
Weight Loss Surgery Stops Obesity and Lowers Heart Disease Risks
Preliminary findings in a recent study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2016 showed that those in the study who underwent weight loss surgery showed significantly lower risks for heart disease.
The researchers looked at the medical records of 25,804 bariatric surgery patients in a Scandinavian obesity surgery registry. They compared those results with 13,701 Swedish registry patients who did not do weight loss surgery but instead completed a structured lifestyle modification program, such as eating healthy and exercising for weight loss. They focused on those with no histories of heart disease or failure in their families, and only considered those who needed to lose more than 30 pounds before they had treatment.
The most significant finding was that those who had surgery were 50 percent less likely to develop heart surgery than those who did the modification program. There were also fewer incidences of diabetes, hypertension, and atrial fibrillation. However, the findings showed that the rate of death and heart attack were similar between the two groups.
“Our study shows an association between obesity and heart failure and offers support for efforts to prevent and treat obesity aggressively, including the use of bariatric surgery,” said Johan Sundstrom, M.D., Ph.D., senior author of the study and professor of epidemiology at Uppsala University in Sweden. “Bariatric surgery might affect the incidence of atrial fibrillation, diabetes and hypertension—known risk factors of heart failure—explaining the lower risk of heart failure we observed.”
Steps to Reduce Heart Disease
The research is just preliminary, meaning that there are a lot of variables that need to be considered and more comparisons to be made. However, it’s a step in the right direction for reducing heart disease. Weight loss surgery has often been considered the “easy way out” for those needing extreme weight loss, but it could show that it’s just as effective, if not more so, in achieving a healthier lifestyle.
Additionally, it could lead to the naming of bariatric surgery as a required medical necessity for many patients, meaning insurance would cover the procedure. These findings could also be key in the support of other life-changing weight loss tactics, such as lipo shots and vitamin b12 injections.
The findings hint that aided weight loss is often more effective in the long run for health than simply exercising and eating healthy. Those steps are essential for maintaining weight loss but the rapid shedding of weight, thanks to weight loss surgeries, could be what saves people from an early and painful death.