Patient talking with doctor

Benefits of Bariatric Surgery Go Beyond Weight Loss

Obesity affects nearly 1 in every 3 Michiganders and increases the risk for serious health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. The first line of treatment for these chronic conditions involves weight loss, diet, exercise and medications. When these treatments are ineffective, bariatric, or weight-loss, surgery can be a viable option.

Not only can it help with weight loss, bariatric surgery provides significant benefits for people with diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia. The procedure can aid in better long-term metabolic disease management.

That finding came out of the Michigan Bariatric Surgery Collaborative, funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network. Since 2006, the collaborative has collected detailed clinical data and patient-reported outcomes for more than 80,000 bariatric procedures in Michigan.

“Obesity is the epidemic of our times,” said Oliver Varban, M.D., MBSC co-program director. “Not only is it common, but it also affects every aspect of our health, from diabetes to knee pain. By harnessing the power of a large data registry, the MBSC can show that the benefits of bariatric surgery go beyond weight loss alone.”

Of people who have undergone bariatric surgery since the registry was started:

  • 34% had diabetes
  • 53% had hypertension
  • 49% had hyperlipidemia

A year after surgery, the following percentage reported being able to discontinue their medication for these conditions:

  • Diabetes — 68%
  • Hypertension — 52%
  • Hyperlipidemia — 56%

The surgery and the ability to discontinue medication for a chronic condition can lead to dramatic improvements in quality of life.

“Prior to my bariatric surgery, I was on metformin, an oral medication for my diabetes, and two prescriptions for hypertension,” a patient told us. “Right after the procedure, I no longer had to take the medication for diabetes and, within a few weeks, I was taken off both my prescriptions for hypertension.

“This was a game-changing event for both my long-term health and my wallet. Plus… I was able to lose weight and improve the overall quality of life that I currently enjoy with family and friends.”

If you’re considering bariatric surgery, MBSC has tools for patients and their doctors to use to help decide if it’s the right treatment option. If you decide to move forward, these tools can guide you through every stage of the procedure.

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Photo credit: Eva-Katalin

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