Weight loss surgery can reduce heart disease risk


Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women across the board for racial and ethnic groups in the United States.

In a study from Rutgers University and elsewhere, scientists found obese adults with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) could benefit from bariatric surgery.

They found that those who underwent the surgery suffered far fewer extreme heart disease events. These patients were nearly 50% less likely to develop heart attacks, angina, or strokes.

The findings provide evidence in support of bariatric surgery as an effective therapeutic tool to lower the elevated risk of heart disease for people with obesity and NAFLD.

NAFLD, and a more advanced form known as NASH, are rapidly increasing causes of liver disease and can impact people who drink little to no alcohol.

The condition, which occurs because too much fat is being stored in liver cells, inciting an inflammatory state, is more common in people with obesity and type 2 diabetes.

In the study, researchers analyzed data from 86,964 adults between the ages of 18 and 64 who had obesity and NAFLD.

Of those, 68% of the study group were female, 35% underwent bariatric surgery and 65% received nonsurgical care.

The team found bariatric surgery patients experienced a 49% decrease in the risk of developing heart attacks, heart failure, or ischemic strokes.

They were also far less likely to experience angina, atherosclerotic events, or arterial blood clots.

The association between bariatric surgery and the risk reduction of developing heart disease has not been studied to this level of detail before.

There is growing evidence that bariatric surgery, because of the weight reduction it brings about in patients, offers definitive health benefits.

A previous study showed that bariatric surgery can also significantly reduce the risk of cancer—especially obesity-related cancers—in obese individuals with NAFLD.

Importantly, these cancers included colorectal, pancreatic, endometrial, thyroid cancer, multiple myeloma, and hepatocellular carcinoma.

The team says although bariatric surgery is a more aggressive approach than lifestyle modifications, it may be associated with other benefits, such as improved quality of life and decreased long-term healthcare burden.

If you care about weight loss, please read studies about exercise that has unique benefits for weight loss, and these eating habits could cause too much weight gain.

For more information about wellness, please see recent studies about new guidance for exercise in type 2 diabetes, and results showing early time-restricted eating could help lose weight and improve blood pressure.

The study was conducted by Vinod K. Rustgi et al and published in JAMA Network Open.

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