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Weight-Loss Surgery May Lessen Death Risk

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A new study has found that weight-loss surgery might lower obese people’s risk of an early death.

The research, led by Christina Persson from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, studied data from almost 49,000 obese people in Sweden between the ages of 18 and 74 years old. After around five years post-surgery, the death rate for obese people was just a little over 1% compared to 4% for those who did not have the weight loss surgery.

Over 22,500 people had weight-loss surgery between 2000 and 2011. The researchers compared them with some 26,000 people who did not have the surgery. 93% of those who had surgery had a gastric bypass procedure.

Gastric bypass is a surgical procedure wherein the stomach is divided into a small upper pouch and a larger lower “remnant” pouch. The small intestines are rearranged to connect both pouches. After the operation, the stomach is fuller and the patient will feel full with less food intake, which helps dramatically decrease weight.

In the results, the overall death rate went down by 57% in the group that had surgery. This figure remained as is after researchers adjusted for age and prior health conditions like cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

Accidents, heart disease, suicide and cancer were documented to be the most common causes of death among patients who had undergone weight-loss surgery. Heart disease and cancer were the most common causes of death among those who did not have the surgery.

In addition, heart disease and cancer contributed to most of the difference in death rates for obese people who had weight loss surgery and those who did not, according to the research.

This research was presented at the European Obesity Summit. Findings presented at these meetings are typically viewed as preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed journal.

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