A study from Stanford University determined that gastric bypass surgery for the treatment of obesity lowers the risk of heart disease even more than previously reported. Using 3 measures to determine heart disease risk?C-reactive protein, lipoprotein A, and homocysteine?as well as cholesterol levels, researchers studied 371 patients pre-and postsurgery. Patients showed improvements to normal range in all measures.
John Morton, MD, MPH, MHA, assistant professor of surgery at Stanford, said that using statins, considered the most effective nonsurgical treatment for heart disease, lowers C-reactive protein by ~16%. "We found that gastric bypass lowered it by 50%," he said. Gastric bypass surgery, reduces the size of the stomach so that patients have to eat less, and it also removes a long stretch of small intestine so that fewer nutrients are absorbed.
Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.