Risk of Heart Attack, Stroke Lower After Weight-loss Surgery

Man hanging on the lower end of a gauge, lower riskWeight-loss surgery provides multi-prong benefits for patients with diabetes. In addition to weight loss and remission of diabetes, a study from the Cleveland Clinic found that overweight diabetic patients who undergo gastric bypass surgery also reduced their 10-year risk of having a heart attack by 40% and their risk for suffering a stroke by 42%.

In addition, the 5-year risk of death from all cardiovascular disease dropped by 18% and the risk of developing moderate to severe kidney disease dropped by 45%, reported the research team during a presentation at the 30th Annual Meeting for the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) during ObesityWeek 2013, held in Atlanta, Georgia. Patients were also at significantly less risk for intermittent claudication (4-year risk reduction of 47%) and other complications including diabetic retinopathy.

"This study emphasizes that gastric bypass dramatically changes the trajectory of many chronic diseases associated with diabetes and improves multiple cardiovascular risk factors in the long term," said study co-author Stacy A. Brethauer, MD, Staff Physician in the Section of Laparoscopic and Bariatric Surgery at Cleveland Clinic.

The study followed 131 patients with diabetes and obesity for approximately 6 years after gastric bypass surgery. On average, patients lost 60% of their excess weight and had a diabetes remission rate of 61%. The average patient in the study had type 2 diabetes for more than six years before undergoing surgery.

The researchers were able to determine a patient's relative risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, myocardial infarction, peripheral vascular disease (PVD), cardiovascular mortality, and diabetic retinopathy. In all cases, patients saw significant decreases in the relative risk of developing these individual complications linked to diabetes. The overall risk of developing coronary heart disease, stroke, or peripheral vascular disease within the next 10 years dropped by 27%.

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