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Long Term Health Benefits Of Gastric Surgery

The beautiful young woman in old jeans after losing weight on a white background. Concept of healthy lifestyle.

Gastric surgery can have a tremendous effect on obesity, jump-starting the journey towards a healthy weight. But beyond the misty mountaintop of “losing weight,” what are the long-term benefits of gastric surgery?

For Starters

Weight loss surgery makes you thinner by shrinking the size of your stomach; either by stapling off or removing a portion of the stomach in gastric bypass surgery, or by confining it via gastric banding. These surgeries have become extremely popular in the past decade, as new procedures and upgrades to old ones have made them far safer.

Gastric surgery is a way of cheating the body into having a smaller stomach, and of tricking the stomach into thinking it is full sooner. This is the perfect opportunity for people whose obesity has progressed beyond the point of mere exercise and dieting to make those two key measures become effective again.

Decreased Mortality And Disease

Obesity is a known risk factor for diseases and death. Gastric surgery has been shown to reduce those risks by as much as 89 percent. More specifically, gastric surgery helps to prevent obesity-related diseases by reducing or eliminating the following:

  • Hypertension: High blood pressure occurs when blood pumps too hard through the veins, leading to heart and kidney problems. Obesity increases the likelihood of hypertension and cardiovascular disease, making hypertension the most common medical disorder associated with obesity. Obese people with hypertension are ideal candidates for gastric surgery, because gastric surgery improves hypertension in roughly 70 percent of patients.
  • Diabetes: Diabetes is a chronic inflammatory disease, symptomized by high levels of sugar in the blood. Diabetes can cause kidney problems, vision issues, nerve damage and hypertension. A 2012 study found that bariatric surgery in conjunction with medication is more effective at treating type-2 diabetes than medication alone.
  • Sleep Apnea: Sleep apnea refers to abnormal or interrupted breathing in one’s sleep, which means interrupted sleep and increased daytime fatigue. Increased sleepiness makes it hard to keep up with dieting and exercise goals, and also decreases levels of leptin, the chemical that suppresses appetite. Obesity is the most significant factor causing sleep apnea, and while gastric surgery does not always solve the problem of sleep apnea, studies show it helps.

Psychological Well-Being

In addition to those physical benefits come the incalculable benefits of increased self-esteem, brought about by a lower weight and a healthier lifestyle.

A large body of research supports the hypothesis that physical health improves overall happiness, so lifestyle changes like exercise and a healthy diet after gastric surgery will do more good than you think.

Commitment

Most surgeons require patients to undergo a psychological examination before undergoing gastric surgery, to discern whether patients are truly willing to commit to the healthier diet and increased activity that determines the long-term success of the surgery. Fortunately, committing will make a world of difference.

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