Obese individuals who have undergone a weight loss procedure are less likely to develop heart complications compared to those who have had no surgical treatment, latest research implies.

A study by Rutgers University, New Jersey, has found that bariatric surgery reduces an obese person’s risk of having a heart attack or stroke by nearly 50%.

Participants under observation during the study were all morbidly obese and had non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Chief author Professor Vinod K. Rustgi said: “The findings provide evidence in support of bariatric surgery as an effective therapeutic tool to lower elevated risk of cardiovascular disease for select individuals with obesity and NAFLD. These finding are tremendously impactful for many reasons.”

In 2020, more than 690,000 people in America died from cardiovascular disease, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported.

According to the research, people living with obesity and type 2 diabetes are at high risk of developing NAFLD.

During the study, the team of academics examined data from the MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters medical insurance database between 2007 and 2017.

They found that obese individuals who underwent weight loss surgery were 49% less likely to experience a heart problem, such as heart failure, angina and blood clots.

The scientists said: “The association between bariatric surgery and risk reduction of developing cardiovascular disease has not been studied to this level of detail before.”

Prior research has found that weight loss surgery can combat obesity-related cancers, including pancreatic, endometrial, thyroid and colorectal cancer.

Additionally, previous studies have discovered that weight loss surgery reduces an obese person’s risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma and multiple myeloma.

Professor Vinod K. Rustgi added: “Although bariatric surgery is a more aggressive approach than lifestyle modifications, it may be associated with other benefits, such as improved quality of life and decreased long-term health care burden.”

The study has been published in the journal JAMA Network Open.

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