Published on March 01, 2019

Metabolic syndrome: How bariatric surgery may help

Abhiman CheeyandiraThere are many reasons to consider bariatric surgery if you’re obese, and one of them might be if you have metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is a condition categorized by having three or more of these health problems: a high fasting blood sugar level, high blood pressure, a low HDL cholesterol level, a high blood level of fats called triglycerides or a large waist circumference.

Many people who are obese have metabolic syndrome.

“More than 80 percent of obese adults will develop metabolic syndrome, putting them at risk for serious health complications, such as cardiovascular disease, fatty liver disease, peripheral artery disease, insulin resistance and diabetes,” says Abhiman Cheeyandira, MD, a bariatric surgery specialist at Nazareth Hospital.

You can help control metabolic syndrome by eating a healthy diet and exercising. But if you still can’t get your body mass index (BMI) below 35, your physician may recommend weight-loss surgery

Types of surgery

Common bariatric surgeries include:

Gastric bypass surgery. “This is one of the most common and effective weight-loss surgeries performed today,” Dr. Cheeyandira says.

Surgeons create a pouch in the upper part of the stomach, and food is routed—or bypassed—around the stomach to the small intestine. This helps with weight loss by restricting food intake and absorption.

Vertical sleeve gastrectomy. For this surgery, doctors reshape the stomach and reduce its size by as much as 80 percent.

A high rate of success

Studies show that after bariatric surgery, metabolic syndrome goes away in nearly 90 percent of patients, Dr. Cheeyandira says.

However, it’s important to remember that bariatric surgery is just one aspect of treating metabolic syndrome and obesity.

“Patients must maintain a healthy diet before and after surgery and exercise regularly to avoid regaining lost weight,” Dr. Cheeyandira says.