How much weight loss do you need to live longer and have a healthy heart?

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In a new study, researchers found that 5% to 10% of surgically induced weight loss is linked to improved life expectancy and cardiovascular health.

In comparison, about 20% weight loss is necessary to observe similar benefits with non-surgical treatment.

The findings also show that metabolic surgery may contribute to health benefits that are independent of weight loss.

The research was conducted by a team at Cleveland Clinic.

This large study looked at 7,201 Cleveland Clinic patients: 1,223 patients with obesity and type 2 diabetes who underwent metabolic surgery (bariatric or weight loss surgery) were matched to 5,978 patients who received usual medical care.

About 80% of the patients had high blood pressure, 74% had dyslipidemia (elevated triglycerides and cholesterol), and 31% were taking insulin to treat their diabetes.

Using different statistical models, the effects of weight loss were studied to identify the minimum weight loss needed to decrease the risk of death and of experiencing major adverse cardiovascular events, such as coronary artery events, cerebrovascular events, heart failure, kidney disease, and heart rate problems.

The team found that following metabolic surgery, the risk of death and major heart complications appears to decrease after about 5% and 10% weight loss, respectively.

Whereas, in the nonsurgical group, both the risk of death and major cardiovascular complications decreased after losing approximately 20% of body weight.

This study suggests greater heart disease benefits are achieved with less weight loss following metabolic surgery than medical weight loss using lifestyle interventions.

The findings suggest that there are important benefits of metabolic surgery independent of the weight loss achieved.

More research is needed to better understand the underlying mechanisms for the health benefits of metabolic surgery in patients who have obesity and type 2 diabetes.

One author of the study is Ali Aminian, M.D., director of Cleveland Clinic’s Bariatric & Metabolic Institute.

The study is published in the Annals of Surgery.

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