Could Weight-Loss Surgery Save Your Life?

The benefits of weight-loss surgery, also called bariatric surgery, go beyond what the eye can see. If you are obese, surgery to lose weight may be safer than carrying around those extra pounds. If you're dealing with diabetes as well, weight-loss surgery may send the disease into long-term remission. Is losing weight worth the risks associated with surgery though? Your doctor can help you decide if the benefits outweigh the risks. Take a look at the latest research.

Lower odds of dying from complications of obesity

Weight-loss surgery improves the body's ability to control blood sugar levels. In some cases, it may even reverse type 2 diabetes at least temporarily for many years. By helping you lose weight, it may also lower your risk for other serious conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, arthritis, and certain malignancies.

Balancing benefits and risks

Researchers have found weight-loss surgery to be an effective and safe treatment for select patients with severe obesity.

All four main kinds of weight-loss surgery limit the amount of food you can eat or decrease the absorption of calories from food, and some of the surgeries do both. Each type of surgery, however, carries its own risks and benefits depending on your underlying health problems.

Consider your candidacy

Weight-loss surgery is typically recommended for adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater. If you have a serious health condition, such as diabetes or heart disease, you may want to look into bariatric surgery if your BMI is between 35 and 39.9. You can calculate yours with this BMI calculator.

It's also important to consider how ready you are to make a change. Weight loss surgery alone is not enough. Every weight-loss procedure requires you to commit to a lifetime of healthy eating and regular exercise. Ask your doctor for his or her opinion on your weight-loss options.