How Bariatric Surgery Can Reduce Heart Attack and Stroke Risk

by Timothy R. Shope, MD, Chief, Advanced Laparoscopic and Bariatric Surgery
June 25, 2019

Obesity is the leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which is the No.1 cause of death in U.S. adults. However, 2018 research suggests that bariatric surgery can reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks in patients with diabetes by 40 percent within five years.

Many of the patients we see for bariatric surgery have diabetes, which often goes hand-in-hand with obesity.

We’ve seen a number of people over the years lose a substantial amount of weight after bariatric surgery, lowering their blood sugar and blood pressure and reducing their heart attack and stroke risk. In fact, the cardiologists of patients who had prior heart attacks often are ecstatic with their rejuvenated heart health.

LISTEN: Dr. Shope discusses bariatric surgery and cardiovascular disease risk in the Medical Intel podcast.

Most Effective Types of Bariatric Surgery

We perform three common types of bariatric surgery to treat patients for obesity, diabetes, and elevated cardiovascular risk.

1. Gastric Bypass Surgery

During gastric bypass surgery, we create a small stomach pouch and bypass some of the intestine. This limits the amount of food that can be eaten and the number of calories and nutrients that are absorbed. This is the “gold standard” for bariatric surgery, but is no longer the most commonly performed procedure. It reduces about 85 to 90 percent of patients’ diabetic profile. Most patients are able to achieve healthy blood sugar and blood pressure levels within a couple months. However, we’ve seen patients leave the hospital after surgery off of all their diabetic medications and holding some of their blood pressure medication.

2. Sleeve Gastrectomy

Depending on how much weight a person needs to lose, similar results can be achieved through a sleeve gastrectomy. This procedure reduces the stomach to about 25 percent of its original size and reduces the hormone responsible for signaling hunger. People then can lose weight more rapidly and lower their medication dosages or eliminate the need of any medication within several months due to their blood pressure and blood sugar levels lowering. Sleeve gastrectomy is now the most common bariatric surgery we perform.

3. Adjustable Gastric Banding

An adjustable gastric band is placed around the upper part of the stomach to limit food intake. This procedure has a 50 to 60 percent success rate in curing diabetes or reducing medications. Weight loss is more gradual with a lap band, but in many cases, the procedure allows patients to reduce or eliminate medications, especially if they were recently diagnosed with diabetes. Patients’ blood pressure typically lowers as well following this surgery.

Interested in bariatric surgery?

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Who Is a Good Candidate?

The American Heart Association considers anyone with a body mass index of 30 or more to be obese. Candidates for bariatric surgery are based on National Institutes of Health (NIH) criteria, which includes:

  • A body mass index that’s greater than 40
  • A body mass index that’s greater than 35, if they have diabetes or other medical problems that can influence weight gain, such as obstructive sleep apnea
  • A body weight that is 100 pounds or more over their ideal body weight
#Bariatricsurgery generally can help people with #diabetes and a BMI over 40 (or 35 in select cases) decrease their #heartattack and #stroke risk. https://bit.ly/2KD2LHr via @MedStarWHC

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MedStar Washington Hospital Center is home to bariatric surgeons who not only deliver superb results but also understand the importance of follow-up care. We always include your diabetes expert and primary care doctor to ensure you receive all facets of care on your way to losing weight, defeating diabetes, and decreasing your heart attack and stroke risks.

Bariatric surgery can help manage or even cure diabetes. If you are obese, consider a conversation with your doctor to determine whether you are a candidate for a weight loss procedure.

If you prefer to attend a bariatric surgery seminar in-person, call 855-546-1974 or request an appointment online.

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Category: Healthy Living, Medical Intel     Tags: bariatric surgeryheart attackweight loss surgery