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Weight loss surgery has been found to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, studies say



There is encouraging news for patients who have weight loss surgery: A new study finds that the benefits of the procedure include a reduced risk of heart attacks and strokes, as well as healthier blood sugar levels. More than 200,000 Americans undergo bariatric surgery each year.

Carolyn Ackerman is one of those people. The 57-year-old is already a bundle of energy – a far cry from more than two years ago when her weight hit 31

0 pounds. "I got tired very easily. I had sleep apnea, diabetes," she told CBS Evening News.

Then she made a gastric bypass, in which doctors contracted the size of the stomach so that less food could be absorbed. Carolyn lost 130 pounds and her type 2 diabetes is gone.

Dr. Stephen Nissen and his colleagues at the Cleveland Clinic wanted to know if bariatric surgery could also prevent cardiovascular problems related to diabetes. They followed nearly 2,300 people who underwent bariatric surgery and compared them to more than 11,000 obese patients with similar symptoms who had not undergone surgery.

"What we saw was quite amazing," says Dr. Nissen. "So these people had less heart attacks and strokes, kidney failure and heart failure."

In addition, people who underwent surgery were 41% less likely to die for any reason during the study.

"If we can find ways to help people lose weight," added Nissen, "Then all these effects of obesity on heart health are potentially reversible."

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All rights reserved.


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