For those who truly cannot lose weight by a disciplined approach to diet and exercise, surgery is a last resort but Nick Nicholson, M.D., weight loss surgeon on the medical staff at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano, says outside the usual benefits, surgery can actually improve other health conditions.
Here are 5 other improvements weight loss surgery can bring:
1) Reversal of Type 2 diabetes – “Because obesity is the primary risk factor for Type 2 diabetes, weight-loss surgery can have a profound impact on the condition,” says Dr. Nicholson. Published in the March 2009 issue of The American Journal of Medicine, a study revealed that 82 percent of patients who had weight-loss surgery reversed their diabetes in less than two years, and 62 percent remained diabetes free two years following surgery.
2) Improved fertility – Although most obese women are not infertile, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, ovulatory functions and pregnancy rates frequently improve significantly after weight loss in obese women.
3) Improvement or elimination of hypertension – A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2004 stated that hypertension was eliminated in 61.7 percent of weight-loss surgery patients and significantly improved in 78.5 percent of patients.
3) Easing of joint pain – Weight-loss surgery can ease the pain caused by the stress of extra weight on joints; a 2004 study showed the number of painful joints and other painful areas reported by the obese adults in the study was cut in half six to 12 months after weight-loss surgery. Plus, researchers in Austria have found that weight-loss surgery can help resolve the chronic inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
5) Increased longevity – Studies at the University of Alabama in Birmingham and at the Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands conclude that obesity can cut a person’s life span by up to 20 years. Researchers with the Pennington Biomedical Research Center have found that weight-loss surgery for severely obese patients appears to decrease overall mortality.
“Partnered with improved quality of life, the medical benefits of weight-loss surgery can’t be taken lightly; the surgery can truly lead to greater physical and emotional health and wellness,” adds Dr. Nicholson.