The Weight Loss Surgery Program
Additional Health Benefits of Bariatric Surgery
Medical conditions that may be greatly improved after surgery include:
High Blood Pressure
At least 70 percent of patients who have high blood pressure and who are taking medications to control it are able to stop all medications and have a normal blood pressure, usually within two to three months after surgery. When medications are still required, their dosage can often be lowered, with reduction of medication side effects.
Gastric bypass surgery can help lower cholesterol and improve the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL (good) cholesterol, according to a new study presented at the 27th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).
The study reported that within just six months of gastric bypass, nearly all patients with high cholesterol had normal blood cholesterol levels and 91 percent of patients who were on statins or other lipid-lowering drugs before surgery no longer needed them. Even after six years, all patients were off medication.
Although we can't say definitively that heart disease is reduced, the improvement in problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes certainly suggests that improvement in risk is very likely. In one recent study, the risk of death from cardiovascular disease was profoundly reduced in diabetic patients who are particularly susceptible to this problem.
More than 90 percent of Type II diabetics obtain excellent results, usually within a few weeks after surgery: normal blood sugar levels, normal Hemoglobin A1C values, and freedom from all their medications, including insulin injections. Based upon numerous studies of diabetes and the control of its complications, it is likely that the problems associated with diabetes will slow in their progression when blood sugar is maintained at normal values. There is no medical treatment for diabetes that can achieve as complete and profound an effect as surgery, which has led some physicians to suggest that surgery may be the best treatment for diabetes in the seriously obese patient. Abnormal glucose tolerance, or "borderline diabetes," is even more reliably reversed by gastric bypass. Since this condition becomes diabetes in many cases, the operation can frequently prevent diabetes as well.
Most asthmatics find that they have fewer and less severe attacks, or sometimes none at all. Improvement of exercise tolerance and breathing ability usually occurs within the first few months after surgery. Often, patients who have barely been able to walk find that they are able to participate in family activities and even sports.
Sleep Apnea Syndrome
Dramatic relief of sleep apnea occurs as our patients lose weight. Many report that within a year of surgery their symptoms were completely gone, and they had even stopped snoring altogether - and their spouses agree. Many patients who require an accessory breathing apparatus to treat sleep apnea no longer need it after surgically induced weight loss.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Relief of all symptoms of reflux usually occurs within a few days of surgery for nearly all patients.
Stress Urinary Incontinence
This condition responds dramatically to weight loss and usually becomes completely controlled. A person who is still troubled by incontinence can choose to have specific corrective surgery later, with much greater chance of a successful outcome with a reduced body weight.
Low Back Pain, Degenerative Disk Disease, and Degenerative Joint Disease
Patients usually experience considerable relief of pain and disability from degenerative arthritis and disk disease and from pain in the weight-bearing joints. This relief tends to occur early, usually with the first 25 to 30 pounds lost. If there is nerve irritation or structural damage already present, it may not be reversed by weight loss and some pain may persist.
Weight loss surgery may help infertility in obese women especially those that are infertile due to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Significant weight loss after surgery can help restore normal menstrual cycles, reduce high androgen levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes all which plays a role in a woman's fertility.