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Benefits of Bariatric Surgery

Obesity is connected to many medical problems. If you lose weight and keep it off, your medical condition is most likely going to improve.

After bariatric surgery, patients usually lose about one-half (50 percent) to two-thirds (66 percent) of their excess body weight. This is about one-third (33 percent) of their current weight. Less than five percent of patients undergoing gastric bypass surgery reach their ideal body weight. It is possible to lose more than 66 percent of your excess body weight after bariatric surgery, but this requires commitment to following the dietary guidelines, as well as the motivation and ability to exercise regularly.

Note: A patient can regain weight about two years after surgery, if he or she doesn't exercise regularly and follows an improper diet.

Through the weight loss you achieve after bariatric surgery, other benefits will occur, such as the:

  • Elimination of pulmonary (lung) problems and sleep apnea – Bariatric surgery can eliminate sleep apnea and the need for special machines, such as CPAP or BiPAP to keep the airway clear, in over 90 percent of patients. Shortness of breath and the hypoventilation (lack of oxygen) disorder is also likely to improve. Asthma also improves and the need for inhalers decreases.
  • Improvement in heartburn and reflux symptoms – Heartburn and other reflux symptoms associated with obesity improve in almost all patients after gastric bypass.
  • Improvement in your outlook and self-esteem – Significant weight loss can help a patient feel a sense of accomplishment and improve their self-esteem. Many patients notice that they are no longer preoccupied with food, are in a better mood, and have increased stamina.
  • Improvement of blood pressure and cholesterol levels – Studies show that blood pressure and cholesterol levels may improve after bariatric surgery, largely due to the restricted diet a patient must follow after the procedure. Many patients are able to reduce the amount of blood pressure and cholesterol medication they take, or stop it entirely, after bariatric surgery.
  • Reduction in diabetes medication – Over 90 percent of patients with obesity-related diabetes are able to stop insulin or oral medications, or decrease their doses significantly after bariatric surgery.
  • Reduction in the risk of heart disease – Since gastric bypass surgery will help you lose weight, your risk of heart disease is also decreased since obesity is a clear risk factor for heart disease and arteriosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries). However, it is unlikely that weight loss through gastric bypass surgery will reverse any existing heart disease and narrowing of the arteries. At present, there is no conclusive proof that life span will be extended with gastric bypass, although there is some suggestion that this is the case in patients with diabetes.
  • Reduction of degenerative joint disease, arthritis, and back pain symptoms – Arthritis, degenerative joint disease, and back pain are not cured by bariatric surgery, but their symptoms may be reduced after surgery; however, some patients continue to have chronic joint pain after surgery.
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