Can Gastric Bypass Help You Live a Longer, Healthier Life?

Keep in mind that gastric bypass does not cure obesity, but it is a great option to kick start your weight loss journey and help you live a long, healthy life. The answer to this question couldn't be clearer. Millions of people have been studied and hundreds of studies have been published showing an overwhelming reduction in the risk of mortality due to bariatric surgery. In other words, people are living longer because of surgery, and in a substantial way.

One thing's for sure: gastric bypass surgery isn't always easy or necessarily safe. The mortality rate is close to 1%, meaning that up to 400 people can die from the procedure each year. Up to 20% of patients need additional surgery to correct complications such as abdominal hernias. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, due to malabsorption in the shortened digestive tract in procedures such as the jejunoleal bypass, approximately 30% of patients develop conditions due to malnutrition, such as anemia and osteoporosis.

Metabolic surgery, specifically gastric bypass, gained importance forty years ago as an effective intervention for obesity, type 2 diabetes and related metabolic disorders. Reduction in long-term mortality after sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass compared to non-surgical patients with severe obesity has been reported. The benefit of gastric bypass decreases as BMI increases in all age groups, both in women and men. Janice has lost 70 pounds since her gastric bypass surgery and has stopped taking almost all the medications she was taking before losing weight, including asthma medications.

Adams and colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis in which they compared patients with gastric bypass with those from a similar control group from the Utah Department of Motor Vehicles. Since undergoing gastric bypass surgery last March, Janice, who admitted to being a shopaholic, hasn't done much shopping. Gastric bypass surgery can definitely improve a person's life, but it also comes with some serious risks and profound life changes. Follow-up surgeries are usually performed 12 to 18 months after surgery, when the patient has lost all of his weight and has adapted to lifestyle changes.

In general, patients who have undergone gastric bypass surgery weigh an average of 100 pounds less, are more active, feel better, and take significantly fewer medications (if any) to treat complications of obesity such as diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. Gastric bypass surgery involves reducing the size of the stomach by sealing off most of the stomach and creating a small, thumb-sized pouch at the top, in addition to avoiding part of the small intestine to reduce the amount of calories and nutrients absorbed from food. Like a growing number of Americans (including famous people like meteorologist Al Roker and singer Carnie Wilson), Janice turned to gastric bypass surgery to lose weight and live a longer, healthier life. A multicenter study on long-term remission and relapse of type 2 diabetes mellitus after gastric bypass has also been conducted.

Genevieve Szulimowski
Genevieve Szulimowski

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