Most patients with diabetes and obesity who undergo gastric bypass not only experience remission of their diabetes and lose significant weight, but they also reduce their risk of having a heart attack and stroke.
Over a 10-year time period, patients saw their risk of having a heart attack drop by 40 percent and their risk for suffering a stroke went down 42 percent, according to research from the Cleveland Clinic.
The five-year risk of death from cardiovascular disease dropped by 18 percent and the risk of developing moderate to severe kidney disease dropped by 45 percent, according to a news release from the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Patients were also at significantly less risk for intermittent claudication, pain caused by poor circulation, and other complications including diabetic retinopathy.
“This study emphasizes that gastric bypass dramatically changes the trajectory of many chronic diseases associated with diabetes and improves multiple cardiovascular risk factors in the long term,” said study co-author Dr. Stacy A. Brethauer, a staff physician in the Section of Laparoscopic and Bariatric Surgery at Cleveland Clinic.
Obesity continues to be a problem nationwide. More than 78 million adults were obese in 2011 to 2012, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The ASMBS estimates about 24 million people have severe or morbid obesity. Individuals with a body mass index greater than 30 have a 50 to 100 percent increased risk of premature death compared to healthy weight individuals as well as an increased risk of developing more than 40 obesity-related diseases and conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
But gastric bypass surgery can change a person’s level of risk. The Cleveland Clinic study, which followed 131 patients with diabetes and obesity for a period of about six years after gastric bypass surgery, showed that on average, patients lost 60 percent of their excess weight and had a diabetes remission rate of 61 percent. The average patient in the study had type 2 diabetes for more than six years before surgery.
Using multiple validated risk assessment models, researchers were able to determine a patient’s relative risk for: coronary heart disease, stroke, myocardial infarction (heart attack), peripheral vascular disease, cardiovascular mortality and diabetic retinopathy.
In all cases, surgery patients saw double digit decreases in the relative risk of developing these individual complications linked to diabetes. The overall risk of developing coronary heart disease, stroke or peripheral vascular disease within the next 10 years dropped by 27 percent.
Sources: American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery news release, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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