Studies indicate that the weight reduction experienced by patients after undergoing bariatric surgical procedures generally reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and cancer. The dramatic reductions in weight also often improve or reverse diabetes. Since 1999, researchers performed various studies that followed bariatric patients for up to 24 months after surgery. Through these investigative endeavors, medical researchers discovered that patients also experienced autoimmune disorder relief. Conditions improved by the surgery included non-allergy related asthma and arthritis.


The respiratory condition referred to as asthma involves a narrowing of the passageways in the lungs because of swelling of the bronchi and bronchioles. Symptoms associated with an asthma attack include coughing, wheezing and tightening of the chest. The condition may occur in anyone at any age; however, patients suffering from obesity generally endure an increased severity of symptoms. As asthma creates a life-threatening situation, patients often require a number of medications that prevent attacks or decrease symptom severity.


Often associated with normal aging, arthritis plagues millions of adults. Osteoarthritis remains the most common form of the condition and involves a deterioration of joint cartilage. Patients often experience arthritis symptoms in the weight bearing joints of the body that include the lower back, hips and knees. Patients suffering from obesity often develop the disease process at a younger age. Obesity also contributes to a progression of the disease process.


Benefits of Bariatric Surgery

Various bariatric research projects include a study performed by physicians from the Western Pennsylvania Hospital, affiliated with the Temple University School of Medicine. Scientists evaluated 49 obese patients before and after bariatric surgery. Each of the individuals suffered from asthma, osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Some patients had diagnoses that included other autoimmune disorders that included psoriasis and myasthenia gravis. Prior to weight loss surgery, each patient required prescription steroids or other immunosuppressive medications for the management of disease related symptoms.

By the time patients reached the 18-month post-operative date, up to half of the individuals experienced vast improvement concerning condition symptoms that either allowed for a discontinuation of medications or patients required a dosage reduction. Prior to these studies, physicians dismissed patients having immune system disorders as candidates for bariatric surgery because of possible complications. Dr. Daniel J Gagne, Director of Bariatric Surgery at Western Pennsylvania Hospital, believes the research demonstrates the safety of bariatric surgery for patients having autoimmune disorders. The evidence also suggests that patients often experience symptom improvement or a complete elimination of the condition.

Criteria for Bariatric Surgery Acceptance

The guidelines stipulated by the National Institutes of Health state that individuals qualifying for any type of bariatric surgery must have a body mass index of at least 35 combined with a diagnosis of an obesity related medical condition. If patients do not have health problems directly related to obesity, they must exhibit a body mass index of 40 or greater. Patients qualifying for weight reduction surgery in either category often exceed normal weight standards for age, height and gender by 100 pounds or more.