Study: Benefits of weight loss surgery include reduction in mortality, reduce heart-related diseases

Many people consider weight loss surgery, but don't go through with it. This may provide some encouragement - a new study finds the benefits go way beyond weight loss. 

Obesity increases our risk of death, heart attack and stroke. Now, new research shows weight loss surgery can potentially reverse the risk of heart-related diseases and death in people who struggle with obesity. Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Steven Nissen is the senior author of the study.

"For six major heart-related outcomes, there was a 39 percent lower risk in those that underwent surgery, compared with those that got the usual, and very good, medical care. And there was a 41 percent reduction in the risk of death," he explained. 

The study looked at more than 13,000 people who were diagnosed with obesity and type two diabetes. More than 2,000 study participants had weight loss surgery, and the rest received usual medical care. 

Both groups were followed for eight years to determine if any one developed major heart-related diseases. 

Results show a 39 percent lower risk for heart-related disease - like heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure - in the surgery group.

The data also showed a 41 percent reduction in death risk for people who underwent weight loss surgery. 

Dr. Nissen says in addition to fewer heart issues, diabetes improved in the surgery group as well.

"To see a 39 percent reduction in all of the events and a 41 percent reduction in mortality, you know, there are very few therapies in treating heart disease that come close to having this begin effect."

Dr. Nissen adds that many people who had weight loss surgery were able to stop taking insulin, and required fewer blood pressure medications after surgery.