Weight loss surgery improves health outcomes

A study of 1200 obese people with type 2 diabetes in Sweden finds those who have weight loss surgery are less likely to have a heart attack or die, than those who don’t have the surgery.

Bariatric surgery plus Roux-en-Y gastric bypass – commonly known as a gastric bypass – makes the stomach smaller and causes food to bypass part of the small intestine.

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After a gastric bypass, people feel fuller more quickly and this reduces the amount of food they can eat at one time. Bypassing part of the intestine reduces how much food and nutrients are absorbed. This all leads to weight loss.

The Swedish researchers found people who had the gastric bypass had a 58% reduction in risk of dying prematurely, and their risk of having a heart attack was cut by 49%.

Weight loss surgery is designed for those who are very, very overweight (morbidly obese) and have been unable to lose weight and keep it off.

It can also be considered if someone is mildly to moderately obese and have significant health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or arthritis.

It’s important to note that not all hospitals in New Zealand offer bariatric surgery and, like all surgical procedures, it carries risk.

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Cardiovascular disease and mortality in patients with type 2 diabetes after bariatric surgery in Sweden: a nationwide, matched, observational cohort study Eliasson B, Liakopoulos V, Franzén S, et al. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2015