A new study finds weight-loss surgery reduces risks of heart attacks and strokes in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus by about 40%.

Decreasing the likelihood of heart disease and heart failure is one of the major goals when treating type 2 diabetes, especially in obese patients. Previous drug studies have found limited long-term benefits in a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and early death.

In contrast, by inducing substantial weight loss through treatments such as bariatric surgery, also known as gastric bypass surgery, the long term health outcomes are improved.

Losing bodyweight reduces the risk of death by 41%

The results from the recent observational study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggest weight loss over long-term diabetes medication is the key to helping diabetic patients live longer and healthier lives.

The study followed 2,287 patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus who had weight-loss surgery at the Cleveland Clinic from 1998-2017. The research focused primarily on the major risk factors of developing heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney damage, erratic heart rate or early death from any cause.

To compare the results, the control group was made up of 11,435 people who didn’t undergo any form of weight-loss surgery.

The outcomes speak for themselves:

  • Gastric bypass patients lost more than 20% of their body weight compared to those you didn’t undertake the surgery.
  • The surgery group also cut their reliance on diabetes medications such as insulin and drugs to control their blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • 31% of those who had reduced their body mass index through bariatric surgery had experienced one serious complication, compared to 48% of those in the control group.
  • The risk of death in the surgical group was reduced by 41%.
  • The risk of heart failure and kidney disease reduced by about 60% when compared to the control group.

Inducing substantial weight loss not only had benefits in treating diabetes and reducing the risks associated with the metabolic disease. It also was found to improve sleep apnea, improved blood sugar levels, control hypertension and reduce osteoarthritis.

“When diabetes gets better, when risk factors like high cholesterol and blood pressure decrease, we would expect improvement,” said bariatric surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic and lead researcher, Dr. Ali Aminian. “But we didn’t expect it to this extent. That’s what’s surprising to us.”

Weight-loss surgery: A potential way to tackle current health problems

The findings of this latest study come at a time when the public health care system is grappling with two global issues: the growing obesity crisis and the limited progress made against the leading cause of death, heart disease.

Dr. Steven Nissen, head of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic and the senior author of the paper, said these two health care issues are inextricably related.

“After 30 or 40 years of making steady progress in reducing cardiovascular disease rates, about five years ago that improvement slowed, then halted,” said Nissen. “Now there is very good evidence that it’s now beginning to tick back up again. Virtually everyone believes that the obesity epidemic, and the diabetes that comes with it, is responsible.”

Bariatric surgery not the only type of weight-loss surgery

There are several types of weight-loss surgeries that could become the preferred treatment option for treating many obese patients with type 2 diabetes.

However, bariatric surgery is a highly invasive weight-loss surgery that comes with its own risks. In fact, in the United States, only 1% of qualify for weight-loss surgery undergo it.

There are also very strict criteria around who is eligible for the surgery, excluding many overweight and obese patients who are at risk of type 2 diabetes, already diabetic or at high risk for heart disease.

According to Diabetes Australia, even a small amount of weight loss (5-10% of body weight) can prevent the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus and reduce the risk of developing complications associated with the condition.

Before & After of Vaser Liposuction Surgery via Dr Joseph Ajaka’s Real Self Profile

Vaser Liposuction and Mega Liposuction could be the answer for those who struggle to lose their excess body fat through a healthy diet and regular exercise alone and don’t qualify for gastric bypass surgery or don’t suffer from severe obesity.

Liposuction surgical procedures target specific areas of excess fat and are also associated with minimal risks and complications when compared to more invasive weight-loss and metabolic surgery options. As seen in the above Vaser Liposuction Before & After that features on Dr Joseph Ajaka’s Real Self Profile, patients can decrease their risks of health complications by removing body fat their waistline through surgical procedures that have reduced risk and faster recovery times.

This new research suggests our current medical treatment of overweight, obese and type 2 diabetic patients should be reviewed to consider weight-loss surgery as a treatment option for motivated patients who struggle to achieve sustained weight loss by other means.