Early death among obese patients can be significantly reduced after weight-loss surgery, a new study found.

Researchers from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden followed-up 49,000 obese individuals aged 18 years old to 74 years old and found that those who underwent weight-loss surgery like gastric bypass had a lower death rate five years post-operation.

Weight-Loss Surgery And Obesity

For the study, the researchers compared data from 22,500 individuals who had surgery and 26,000 individuals who did not undergo surgery. The surgery group posted an overall decrease in death rate by 57 percent versus the non-surgery group. Other extraneous variables that may affect the research such as age, diabetes, cancer and heart disease were adjusted.

The researchers noted that in the surgery group, the most common causes of mortality are suicide, accidents, cancer and heart disease. For the non-surgery group, heart disease and cancer caused the majority of deaths. The most significant differences in the death rate between the two groups were notable in the heart disease and cancer deaths.

"This population-based cohort observational study indicates that the overall all-cause mortality is considerably lower among obese individuals who undergo bariatric surgery compared to non-surgical obese individuals, and the differences lies mainly in cardiovascular disease and cancer," the authors led by Christina Persson of the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg in Sweden concluded.

The preliminary report was presented on June 2 during the European Obesity Summit.

Weight-Loss Surgery And Diabetes

Another study has found that weight-loss surgery boosts survival rates of individuals who have type 2 diabetes, with long-term remission rates of 30 percent to 63 percent. This has prompted the experts to propose new guidelines to suggest that obese, diabetic patients undergo bariatric surgery to "cure" their disease.

"This is the closest that we have ever been to a cure for diabetes," said King's College London metabolic and bariatric surgery professor Francesco Rubino. "It is the most powerful treatment to date."

Researchers said doing a gastric bypass is the most effective weight-loss surgery to date. It is done by stapling the stomach to change its anatomy. The anatomical change alters the macrobiotic environment of the stomach, which subsequently affects the blood sugar levels in the body.

In the new guidelines, individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 and up must undergo weight-loss surgery if blood sugar levels are poorly controlled by medications. Additionally, those with a BMI of 40 and above must be advised surgery regardless of the blood glucose levels.

However, these patients must first be screened for their mental health, as an earlier study has shown that patients seeking bariatric surgeries are commonly afflicted with depression and binge eating behaviors.

Photo: Kevin Old | Flickr

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