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5 Medical Conditions That Improve With a Sleeve Gastrectomy

Though many patients seek bariatric surgery for the primary purpose of losing excess weight, the procedure has other benefits. As the weight comes off after weight-loss surgery, people also see significant improvements in a variety of chronic medical conditions.

Here at Lakeland Surgical Clinic, our bariatric surgeon, Dr. Jonathan Adkins, provides weight-loss surgery, including sleeve gastrectomy, which is also called a gastric sleeve. During this laparoscopic procedure, Dr. Adkins removes about three-quarters of your stomach, leaving a stomach pouch shaped like a banana. 

A sleeve gastrectomy is effective for two reasons. First, your stomach is smaller, so you get full more quickly and eat less. Second, the part that’s removed produced the hunger hormone, ghrelin, so without that hormone, you won’t be as hungry.

If you have a body mass index (BMI) of 40+, you’re a candidate for weight-loss surgery, including a sleeve gastrectomy (or a gastric bypass, another surgery Dr. Adkins performs). Anyone with a BMI of 35 or higher who also has certain health problems is also eligible for the surgeries. 

Let’s take a look at five of the chronic health conditions that typically improve from losing weight after a gastric sleeve procedure. 

1. Obstructive sleep apnea

OSA is a sleep disorder that occurs when the soft tissues in your throat collapse while you sleep, temporarily stopping your breathing. The condition increases your risk of having high blood pressure, heart problems, and stroke. 

About 85% of people with obstructive sleep apnea are obese, and bariatric surgery such as sleeve gastrectomy provides remission in 80-85% of cases. 

2. Type 2 diabetes

Obesity often plays a role in the development of Type 2 diabetes, as the body loses the ability to use insulin effectively. After a sleeve gastrectomy, many patients lose 60-70% of their excess weight within one year, which can help reverse insulin resistance and improve blood sugar control.

Even more dramatic, bariatric surgeries like gastric sleeve can lead to long-term remission for Type 2 diabetes, even in cases where it’s been difficult to control.

3. Heart disease

In a study of 1,330 obese patients who had a gastric sleeve or gastric bypass, the people lost more than a quarter of their total body weight and reaped benefits for their heart health. 

Within only one year of having bariatric surgery, many patients saw improvements in their blood sugar and blood pressure. As a result, their chances of developing cardiovascular disease within 10 years dropped 40%. Since heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, reducing this risk through weight-loss surgery is significant.

4. Infertility 

Obesity contributes to infertility in both women and men by affecting hormonal balance. This means overweight men may have lower sperm count, and women may have issues with ovulation.

Losing weight after a sleeve gastrectomy can help improve fertility. A systematic review of 18 studies in the Journal of Reproduction & Infertility found that bariatric surgery is an effective method for correcting sexual function and hormonal balance in both men and women.

5. Joint pain

Carrying excess weight puts added strain on your weight-bearing joints, like your knees and hips. This extra wear-and-tear can lead to osteoarthritis and the resulting joint pain. 

Losing weight relieves the excess pressure on joints, helping prevent joint damage and pain. In fact, according to one study, for each pound lost, there’s a four-pound reduction in the load on the knee joints. So losing 30 pounds is like taking 120 pounds of stress off your knee joints.

If you’d like to improve your health in myriad ways through weight-loss surgery, a gastric sleeve procedure may be something to consider. To set up a consultation, contact our office in Jackson, Mississippi.

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