For an average of six years after undergoing gastric bypass surgery, severely obese patients not only lost a lot of weight, but also showed frequent remission and lower incidence of type 2 diabetes, plus lower rates of high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, and other cardiovascular risk factors, compared with a control group of similar patients who did not have the surgery.
Extreme Obesity Rising Faster in US
Speaking about their work at a JAMA media briefing, lead author Ted D. Adams, of the School and also of Intermountain Healthcare at Salt Lake City, said the rate of extreme obesity is rising faster in the US than the rate of moderate obesity.
But unfortunately, tackling extreme obesity with lifestyle changes doesn’t work very well in the long term for extremely obese patients, and neither does drug therapy.
This leaves surgery as the only effective option to help severely obese people sustain weight loss, says Adams. But, as he and his colleagues note in the background section of their paper:
“For this high-risk population, however, the number of studies reporting long-term weight loss following bariatric surgery are limited and generally have incomplete follow-up.”
For their study, Adams and colleagues examined links between Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery and weight loss, type 2 diabetes, and other health risks, 6 years after surgery.
The participants were 1,156 severely obese people aged between 18 and 72. Severe obesity is defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 and over. A person’s BMI is their weight in kilos divided by the square of their height in meters. 82% of the participants were female, and the average BMI was 46.
The participants were in three groups (one intervention group and two control groups): 418 who sought and received RYGB surgery, 417 who sought it but did not receive it (Adams said the main reason was on grounds of insufficient insurance coverage), and 321 who were randomly selected from a population-based sample.
The results showed that the average unadjusted weight loss in the surgical group was 27.7% between the beginning of the study and year 6, while over the same period, control group 1 (the ones who sought but did not have surgery) gained an average of 0.2% in weight, and control group 2 (the random population sample) did not gain or lose weight.
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