What are the Health Benefits of Bariatric Surgery Beyond Weight Loss?

Posted by Patrick Domkowski on Wed, Jun 21, 2017

Bariatric surgery enhances weight loss in people who have not achieved long-term success with their weight loss attempts. Benefits of bariatric surgery include reducing the stomach’s storage capacity and controlling appetite hormones.

Considering that bariatric surgery is primarily for weight loss, it’s often the only benefit people think of. For such a life-changing decision, surgery can seem like a lot to go through for something that can seemingly be achieved through diet and exercise.

However, there are many health benefits of bariatric surgery aside from weight loss. Patients who undergo bariatric surgery and make the necessary diet and exercise changes see relief from a variety of medical conditions.

Here’s how bariatric surgery can contribute to overall improved health in addition to helping kick start and maintain weight loss:  

Long-term Remission for Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes affects over 26 million people in the U.S. This condition can lead to eye, kidney, and nerve damage. It can also put patients at risk for heart attacks and strokes.

Post bariatric surgery, the intestine becomes the most important tissue for glucose use and it decreases blood sugar levels.  The small intestine spontaneously begins to produce a molecule called GLUT-1 that helps the body use glucose.

This happens because the intestine must work harder to do its job such as absorb nutrients or move food further down the tract. The health benefit of bariatric surgery contributes to the remission of type 2 diabetes because it lowers blood glucose levels.


Improved Cardiovascular Health

Due to the weight loss, a health benefit of bariatric surgery is a healthier heart. Losing weight can help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Studies have found that bariatric patients had a much lower risk of heart failure than those patients who made lifestyle modifications involving severe dieting and exercise.

Reduced risk of heart failure is also due in part to bariatric surgery’s effects on other risk factors of heart failure including hypertension and atrial fibrillation.

Emotional Benefits of Bariatric Surgery

Many people feel depressed due to poor body image. Younger people find it difficult to participate in activities that they otherwise would enjoy.

Improved emotional health is another health benefit of bariatric surgery. Many patients who lose weight experience improvements in depression, body image, and social isolation.

Numerous studies have shown overall postoperative improvement in self-esteem and depressive symptoms. The active role that patients take to change their lives in terms of diet and lifestyle also play a role in mood after surgery.

Relief from Other Medical Conditions

In addition to remission for type 2 diabetes and improved cardiovascular health, other medical benefits of bariatric surgery include improvements for:

  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Infertility
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Urinary incontinence

The health benefits of bariatric surgery range are both physical and emotional. Weight loss is just one benefit that can offset many others. Through bariatric surgery, patients can look forward to a healthier, happier, and more active lifestyle.


Tags: Bariatric Surgery Benefits

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