According to research by the Geisinger Health System, one of the largest health service organizations in the U.S., patients with severe obesity who have gastric bypass surgery reduce their risk of dying from obesity and other diseases by 48% up to 10 years after surgery, compared to similar patients who do not undergo the procedure. This is significant considering that the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery estimates about 24 million Americans have severe obesity, which would mean a BMI of 35 or more with an obesity-related condition like diabetes or a BMI of 40.
Researchers from the Geisinger Health System followed nearly 2,700 patients who had gastric bypass at the system’s nationally accredited bariatric surgery center between 2004 and 2014. Mortality benefits began to emerge within two years after surgery and were significant within four years. The biggest reduction in risk occurred in patients 60 years or older at the time of surgery and in patients who had diabetes before surgery.
“The long-term survival benefits these older patients and those with diabetes experience likely relate to improvements in long-term metabolic and cardiovascular health, among other risk factors,” said Michelle R. Lent, Ph.D., a Geisinger Obesity Institute researcher. “While this study did not evaluate specific-cause mortality, as expected, we did find significant improvements or remission in diabetes and high blood pressure.”
In the study, more than 60 percent of patients with diabetes before surgery experienced diabetes remission about five years after surgery. Previous studies have shown death from heart disease and even certain cancers are lower in gastric bypass patients than patients with severe obesity who do not have the operation.
People with obesity and severe obesity have higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, arthritis, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and dozens of other diseases and conditions. Studies have shown individuals with a BMI greater than 30 have a 50 to 100 percent greater risk of premature death compared to healthy weight individuals.
If you live in the Las Vegas area and are interested in learning what bariatric surgery can do for you, schedule an appointment with Dr. Shawn Tsuda. He and his team of experts can help you choose the best treatment for your unique situation.