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Bariatric Surgery: Long-Term Benefits to Heart Health

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Coronary Artery Disease related image Photo: Getty Images

Lipoproteins (high-density lipoprotein or HDL/good cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein or LDL/bad cholesterol) contribute to your risk of heart disease and are affected by excess weight. Too much LDL from being overweight (or too little of the good HDL) and your risk for heart disease increases.

In a study conducted by researchers from Tufts University, the University of California-Dave and Oregon Health and Sciences Center, researchers followed a group of 38 women (19 lean-and-mean women and 19 gastric bypass patients) and examined blood samples for cardiovascular disease (CVD) markers, including such things as glucose and insulin levels, triglycerides, HDL, LDL, apolipoprotein A-I, and so forth. In the gastric bypass group, blood levels were checked before surgery, one month after and follow-up at a year post-surgery. (The lean-and-mean control group were also checked at these intervals as well.)

Not surprisingly, the researchers found at the beginning that the gastric bypass candidates had much higher levels of all the “bad” blood profiles (too much glucose, insulin, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides) and not nearly enough of the good things such as HDL cholesterol. Those results, however, changed dramatically over time. Researchers indicated that the results were similar to what might be expected of someone on a statin (cholesterol lowering) drug, with the gastric bypass patients seeing results such as a 25 percent increase of good HDL cholesterol (some even had 177 percent increase). Overall, not only was health improved, but gastric bypass patients saw a significant improvement in lipoproteins and greatly reversed their risk of developing CVD.

It should be noted that this study focused solely on women and it’s unknown whether men would have the same results with respect to heart health as women. Researchers also did not track the participants’ lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise or cessation of smoking of alcohol intake. It appears that regardless of how the weight it lost, there is results are the same - improved overall health and reduced risk of heart disease.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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