Is Weight-Loss Surgery Right for You? What to Know About the Benefits

For people who are severely obese and have diabetes, bariatric surgery decreases the overall risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 68%

A doctor is shown working at the computer.

Former NFL coach Rex Ryan, writer Ann Rice and comedian Roseanne Barr have thrived after having weight-loss surgery. In 2019, around 256,000 fellow Americans did the same, with 61% opting for what's called sleeve gastrectomy. (About 18 percent had the more complex gastric bypass, once the most common form of bariatric surgery.) Sleeve gastrectomy removes 75-80% of the stomach, and most folks lose around 60–70% of their excess weight within a year.

After Rosie O'Donnell had that procedure, she declared: "This has really, really helped [me]." That's putting it mildly. A new study in JAMA Network Open has found that, for folks who are severely obese (Adults with body mass index above 30 are considered obese, according to the CDC) and have diabetes, bariatric surgery (of various kinds) decreases the overall risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 68%, the risk of nonfatal kidney problems by 42% and overall the risk of death from all causes by 47% over a stretch of four to 10 years. The risk of everything from sleep apnea to depression and cancer is also reduced.


Today, knowledge about how to support the physical and emotional challenges post-surgery has increased enormously as complications have been slashed. The surgery does require you to also change your habits, but if you're obese and struggling to achieve a healthy weight and control your diabetes, take time to watch the videos below about weight-loss surgery. Then, talk to your doctor about how this might help you reclaim your health and happiness.

The Underperformed Surgery You Should Be Getting, Part 1



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Q: I end up overeating because it makes me feel better and I never really get full. I'd like to lose weight but this makes it hard. Any suggestions?

A: Being persistently hungry can cause big trouble. So can overeating for comfort/pleasure. These two behaviors, say researchers from Baylor University's Children's Nutrition Research Center, are controlled deep within your brain by serotonin-producing neurons, but operate separately from each other — one in the hypothalamus, the other in the midbrain. They both can, however, end up fueling poor nutritional choices and obesity.

Eating for Hunger

When hunger is your motive for eating, the question is: "Does your body know when you've had enough?" Well, if you are overweight, obese or have diabetes you may develop leptin resistance and your "I am full" hormone, leptin, can't do its job. The hormone's signal to your hypothalamus is dampened, and you keep eating.

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