Gastric Bypass Surgery Shows Long-term Weight Loss Benefits

The surgery also cuts the rate of Type 2 diabetes and other health ailments for those who undergo it.



A recent study has shown that gastric bypass surgery has lasting weight control results. Patients who underwent the surgery a decade ago managed to lose weight and keep the weight off.

Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine examined a number of health markers for 651 individuals who had undergone gastric bypass surgery ten years previously, according to a Reuters report. They found that those who underwent the surgery were able to maintain their weight at 25 percent below their weight pre-surgery, on average. They also were able to maintain significantly better Body Mass Index (BMI) scores.

Weight loss was not the only significant health improvement after 10 years. There was also a large decline in those with symptomatic Type 2 diabetes. Before the surgery 41 percent of patients were exhibiting symptoms of Type 2 diabetes; that number decreased to 18 percent.
10 years after surgery. Participants in the study showed a notable decrease in heart disease, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea, as well.

Bariatric surgeries are surgical procedures that are performed to help patients lose weight. The most common, and maybe the most successful, bariatric surgery is gastric bypass surgery.

Such findings bolster previous studies which show that bariatric surgery can send Type 2 diabetes into seemingly permanent remission. A 2009 analysis of bariatric surgery results even found that people with Type 2 diabetes who underwent gastric bypass surgery showed improved blood glucose levels before they started to lose any weight, according to a Diabetes Forecast report.

There are several theories for why this surgery is such an effective treatment for Type 2 diabetes. One idea is that when the small intestines are shifted during surgery, they start to release more of a hormone called GLP-1, which helps to lower blood glucose levels. Another possible reason why Type 2 symptoms might improve after surgery is because a large part of the digestive tract no longer comes into contact with food after surgery. Many researchers believe that certain molecules are produced when food enters the digestive tract that can worsen the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes.

Gastric bypass was once considered an experimental surgery used as a last-resort method. Now that it is becoming more common, it is comforting to know that the procedure is proving to be an effective long-term tool in managing weight loss and improving health for those who undergo it.

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Ashley Lambert is a recent Suffolk University graduate. While at Suffolk she studied communication and media studies.