Bariatric Surgery Associated with Diabetes Remission, Reduced COVID-19 Risk
Surgery in progress, photo credits ©Nordclinic
In addition to enhanced cosmetic appearance, bariatric surgeries lower the chance of hospitalization and death from COVID-19 and have an impact on reducing and preventing other severe obesity-related diseases
January 29, 2021. Worldwide obesity rates have nearly tripled in the last 45 years, leading to the rise of weight-loss surgeries. While commonly obesity is related to such diseases as type 2 diabetes and hormonal imbalances, recent studies have found a link between disproportionate fat distribution and severity of COVID-19, which doubles the risk of hospitalization and death from the coronavirus. When the traditional weight-loss strategies like physical activity or diets are insufficient, doctors may recommend bariatric surgery.
Bariatric surgeries make changes to the patients' digestive system, helping them to lose weight when the other options have proved unsuccessful. Gastric bypass, one of the most common bariatric procedures, involves creating a small pouch from the upper part of the stomach and connecting it to the small intestine. As a result, the swallowed food bypasses most of the patient‘s stomach and part of the small intestine, and they will feel full with less food. Other variations, such as gastric sleeve, decrease the size of the stomach to reduce food intake, resulting in long-term weight loss.
"For severely obese patients with BMI of 40 or higher, bariatric surgery can have a critical impact on the quality of life. In addition to an enhanced cosmetic appearance, bariatric procedures also prevent future health problems and often lead to remission of severe diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. In the long run, this helps tremendously when it comes to contracting and fighting the coronavirus," said prof. Almantas Maleckas, a leading surgeon at Nordbariatric Clinic, a forefront medical institution for bariatric weight-loss surgeries in Kaunas, Lithuania.
A recent study found that those patients who have had weight-loss surgery are less likely to be hospitalized for the coronavirus. As for diabetes, 80-85% of the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is accounted to obesity, while weight loss is associated with a reduced risk of the disease. Within five years of the procedure, most people with type 2 diabetes have achieved remission. Gastric bypass surgery produces the best results with the lowest rebound rates even for patients who have complex medication regimens or poor control of blood sugar.
“More than half of our clinic’s patients have obesity-related diseases. Some of these can lead to fatal conditions, such as heart attacks or strokes, and are extremely problematic when it comes to catching and treating the coronavirus. In these cases, bariatric surgery can be a life-saving procedure, and some of our patients have already expressed gratitude for becoming more resilient in the face of the virus,” said prof. Maleckas. “Unfortunately, patients often face prolonged waiting times or delays in most of the countries worldwide. Each month, Nordbariatric Clinic performs over 50 bariatric surgeries, ensuring short waiting periods and safety. Each patient is tested for COVID-19 and receives the necessary post-surgery care.”
Bariatric surgery can also benefit people who suffer from various gastrointestinal disorders. One of the most common conditions is acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), closely associated with obesity. Gastric bypass can provide a substantial long-term improvement in GERD symptoms, such as heartburn and reflux. A study that followed morbidly obese patients with GERD before and after receiving a gastric bypass operation shows that the procedure can successfully alleviate the GERD symptoms for the majority of patients.
When starting a family, obesity can also affect couples’ ability to get pregnant. By reducing the excess weight, bariatric surgery helps to restore hormonal balance for men. This increases sperm count and its concentration, increasing the chances of conception. For reproductive-age women, bariatric procedure mediates the regression of polycystic ovarian syndrome, the most common cause of infertility. After the surgery, the size of the ovaries is restored, and the period cycle returns to normal, promoting successful pregnancy.
"Unfortunately, obesity is becoming more common around the globe and affects every aspect of one’s life. It is a delicate subject matter that requires a sensitive approach, especially when considering the raging pandemic. If every other method of weight-loss fails, surgical weight-loss procedure may be a solution that will improve the overall quality of life and prevent serious complications," concluded prof. Maleckas.
Patients choose Nordbariatric Clinic mostly because of the high-quality services offered by the team of prof. Almantas Maleckas. A surgeon with 15 years of working experience in Sweden, Gothenburg University hospital, treats patients both in Sweden, UAE and Lithuania and has already carried out more than 6,000 bariatric surgeries working in this highly specialized and complicated field where a specialist's competence and experience are essential.
Nordbariatric is a private bariatric surgery clinic in Kaunas, Lithuania, part of Nordclinic, offering high-quality services and focusing on foreign patients. It is equipped with modern diagnostic and surgical facilities. Medical professionals at the clinic speak fluent English and show personal attention to every patient. www.nordbariatric.com/en/