Could weig­ht-loss surgery save your life?

By Kate Karczewski, Pure Matters

The benefits of weight-loss surgery go beyond what the eye can see. If you are obese, surgery to lose weight may be safer than carrying around those extra pounds. If you're dealing with diabetes as well, weight-loss surgery can send the disease into long-term remission.

But is losing weight worth the risks associated with surgery? Take a look at the latest research.

Lower odds of dying for obese

A study by the National Institutes of Health found that 10 to 15 years after having weight-loss surgery, obese patients were less likely to develop--and more likely to recover from--diabetes and other heart disease risk factors. These patients also showed an almost 25 percent reduction in death, compared with obese patients who didn't have the procedure.

Weight-loss surgery appears to improve the body's ability to control blood sugar levels. It may even reverse type 2 diabetes. By helping you lose weight, it may also lower your risk for serious conditions such as heart disease and stroke.

Balancing benefits and risks

Recently, a study on weight-loss surgery was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The researchers found weight-loss surgery to be an effective and safe treatment for severe obesity. The incidence of death and adverse events within 30 days after surgery was very low. It matched the rates seen with other major surgeries.

All four main kinds of weight-loss surgery limit the amount of food you can eat or decrease the absorption of food, and some do both. Each type of surgery comes with its own risks and benefits, and doctors don't agree on which is best.

Consider your candidacy

Weight-loss surgery is typically recommended for adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater. If you have a serious health condition, such as diabetes or heart disease, you may want to look into surgery if your BMI is between 35 and 39.9. You can calculate yours with this BMI calculator.

It's also important to consider how ready you are to make a change. Every weight-loss procedure requires you to commit to a lifetime of healthy eating and regular exercise. Ask your doctor for his or her opinion on your weight-loss options.



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