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Study Shows Heart Damage from Obesity Can Be Reversed With Weight Loss Surgery


A new study on obesity and heart-related disease suggests that various forms of heart damage caused by excess weight can be reduced and even reversed with bariatric surgery.

Many types of heart disease and other heart conditions are aggravated by obesity. Excess body fat does more than negatively affect heart health; indirectly, it also can cause the heart to change its structure and function. This has become a reality for many overweight patients who have never had a diagnosis of heart disease.

The purpose of the study was to find out if gastric bypass surgery would have a positive effect on cardiac function and remodeling in overweight people. The study used 733 severely obese participants, and divided them into two groups: a group of 423 participants who had gastric bypass surgery, and a control group that did not undergo any type of procedure. Two years following the surgeries, a comparison study was made of the two groups.

The following results emerged, comparing the participants who had gastric bypass surgery and the participants in the control group. For those who had the surgery, there was:

  • a large reduction in BMI (body mass index)
  • a reduction in the sizes of the heart chambers; particularly in the left ventricular mass index and the right ventricular cavity area – cardiovascular disease often develops in these areas first in obese people
  • a significant reduction in waist size, heart rate, systolic blood pressure, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol), and insulin resistance
  • an increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (“good” cholesterol)
  • no change in left atrial volume of the heart, but an increase in volume for the control group

The researchers said that patients with Type 2 diabetes who had gastric bypass surgery benefitted not only from significant weight loss but also from the improved heart function and structure due to the shedding of excess weight. The researchers concluded that the study proved that bariatric surgery was an excellent treatment option for cardiovascular problems in people who are severely obese.

Moreover, it was emphasized that this study was not randomized, which suggests that the various health improvements seen in participants were likely due to the weight loss following bariatric surgery, and not to any kind of hormonal changes that are sometimes caused by gastric bypass surgery.

Regardless, there was no room for debate that the study proved heart damage caused by obesity can be alleviated and even reversed as a result of surgical-based weight loss along with a strict regimen of diet and exercise, and other positive lifestyle changes.


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