Bariatric surgery has been proven to be effective as a way to battle obesity. But it may also decrease your risk for coronary atherosclerosis, the most common cause of death in the United States.
Coronary atherosclerosis is a heart condition that involves fatty deposits inside the arterial walls sometimes referred to as a “hardening of blood vessels”. It is considered the most important underlying cause of strokes, heart attacks, various heart diseases including congestive heart failure and most cardiovascular diseases in general.
In other words, it’s very, very bad.
A report in the November 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology suggests that bariatric surgery may be one way to reduce the risk for this deadly condition.
The study looked at 50 gastric bypass patients. Before surgery, all subjects had a BMI of 40 or more or a BMI from 35 to 40 with at least 2 obesity-related conditions.
Two years after the procedure, the average BMI of the group fell to 29.5. However, the subjects also showed a decrease in carotid intima-media thickness (the build up of fatty deposits) from 0.84 to 0.50 mm, as well as improved flow-mediated dilation (meaning increased blood flow). In addition to losing weight, the bariatric surgery patients showed a decrease in use of anti-hypertension and lipid-lowering medications.
Obesity has long been considered to be a contributing factor for heart disease. Having specific research that documents a correlation between weight loss surgery and decreased risk for coronary atherosclerosis may affect the decision for insurance companies to cover the procedures.