A wide-spanning review of 73 studies—involving about 20,000 patients—supports the notion that bariatric surgery betters an individual’s heart health. More specifically, it found that bariatric procedures, whether a type of gastric bypass or lap band surgery, are far more successful than medications and weight control in preventing heart disease and strokes. The researchers at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio published these findings in BMJ‘s Heart journal, a peer review publication that focuses solely on advances in cardiovascular medicine. Dr. Michael Feiz, MD, FACS has noticed similar results firsthand in the patients he treats. The board certified bariatric surgeon notes the life-changing, health-improving benefits in every weight loss procedure, no matter vertical sleeve gastrectomyor lap band.
“I’ve found my patients tend to not only lose weight, they notice an improvement in comorbidities, such as diabetes and hypertension,” says Dr. Feiz. The findings published in Heart corroborate Dr. Feiz’ analysis; patients with diabetes, hypertension, and dyslipidemia (high levels of blood fats) were monitored for four and a half years after their bariatric surgeries. In that time, full or significant improvements were found in 73% of the patients with diabetes, 63% with hypertension, and 65% with dyslipidemia. Plus, adds the study, bariatric surgery provides these benefits at a faster rate than other avenues, like medication regimens and weight management routines.
The health advantages aren’t solely physical, Dr. Feiz has found. “My patients’ mental health improves across the board. They’re feeling better. They’re experiencing a boost in self-confidence, feeling much more comfort in their own bodies.” As part of the bariatric surgery process, Dr. Feiz advises his patients, before the procedure and long after. Mandatory follow-ups and being on call 24/7 allow Dr. Feiz to monitor a patient’s nutrition as well as act as a counselor. Often, this comes down to acting as a compassionate ear for a patient’s frustrations and then normalizing their experience. This open and comfortable dialogue reduces the anxiety patients feel about their unique weight loss process and gives them an optimistic approach for the future.
A related study, Social and Health Changes Following Bariatric Surgery notes the same favorable mental health results. In addition to physical benefits and an increase in self-esteem, the report adds improved mobility, better social relationships, and a lessening of depression. Dr. Feiz suggests one aspect that creates these results, “There’s something to be said about working hard for a result and seeing results. It’s a mood booster.”
The authors at the Cleveland Clinic like to distinguish bariatric surgery from a cosmetic procedure, instead likening it to an intervention for better health. Dr. Feiz agrees, “Most seek out a bariatric procedure to get back their lives. Issues like diet changes with a sleeve or lap band, cost of the procedure, and recovery time are often negligible factors for a patient who needs a drastic change. I’m here to help them on that difficult, yet completely achievable, journey.”