Gastric Bypass Surgery: Good for the Heart

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The  Journal of the American College of Cardiology recently published a report confirming that gastric bypass surgery not only helps you lose weight- it also might give you a healthier heart.

Scientific evidence supports the health benefits of gastric bypass surgery.

Scientists from the Medical College of Georgia recently concluded a study which focused on a group of individuals who were morbidly obese; the subjects studied were overweight to the point that if they didn’t lose weight immediately they would die an early age.

What is gastric bypass surgery?

Gastric bypass procedures essentially involve:

  • Division of the stomach into two pockets:  a small upper pocket and a considerably larger lower  pocket
  • Reconnecting of the small intestine to both pockets
  • Food bypasses the larger pocket in favor of the smaller stomach pouch

Typical life-threatening ailments resulting from morbid obesity include cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and risk of stroke.

Out of the 733-member focus group, 423 elected for gastric bypass surgery while the rest did not.

Necessary weight loss led to reversed symptoms.

After two years the bypass surgery patients lost considerable amounts of weight, resulting in the following health benefits:

  • Decreased body mass index
  • Decreased waist measurements
  • Lowered systolic blood pressure
  • Lowered levels of triglycerides
  • Lowered levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • Increased HDL (good) cholesterol
  • Increased insulin response

Heart structure improved, as well.

Obesity physically distorts the heart structure by creating excess muscular mass in the left ventricle and stretching the gap in the cavity of the right ventricle.

However, two years after gastric bypass surgery the following cardiovascular changes occurred among the 423-member group:

  • Reduced mass index in left ventricle
  • Reduced width of right ventricular cavity
  • Lowered heart rate

Gastric bypass surgery is a life-saving last resort.

In situations where obesity is not life-threatening physicians generally recommend losing weight naturally, no more than about a pound per week.  Gastric bypass surgery is proposed only as recourse when the only other alternative is premature death.  A dangerously high body mass index is necessary in order to qualify somebody for this elective surgery.

More information on the risks and benefits of gastric bypass surgery can be found at the Mayo Clinic.



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