Many people don’t realize this, but obesity causes premature aging if it is not treated right away. This may come as a surprise to some, but obesity increases a person’s risk of developing life-threatening conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Additionally, various research studies have found obesity hastens the aging process due to an increase in free radicals in fat cells, which shortens telomeres.
Telomeres provide protection to the DNA and they are a marker of aging. When a cell divides, a portion of the telomere is lost. If this continues, cells may either stop dividing permanently (senescence) or, for lack of a better term, “commit suicide,” a condition called apoptosis. Smoking, a poor diet, obesity, and a lack of exercise can all cause premature aging at the cellular level. Therefore, it’s imperative patients who practice these lifestyle choices stop these behaviors to reverse molecular aging.
Fortunately, there are things obese patients can do to reduce their risk of premature aging. First, patients should make the necessary lifestyle changes to slow the progression of or possibly reverse their obesity diagnosis. This includes quitting smoking and maintaining a balanced, healthy diet. This is often easier said than done for some obese patients, especially those with underlying health conditions.
That’s where bariatric surgery may help. A recent study conducted by the University of Vienna, Austria, found weight loss surgery may reverse molecular aging. During the study, 76 patients with an average age of 40 and an average body mass index (BMI) of 44.5 kilograms per square meter underwent bariatric surgery done. Before having surgery, each patient had blood samples taken to examine the effects surgery would have on their cells.
Additional blood samples were taken at the 12-month and 24-month mark. Not only did the researchers see an average 38% reduction in the patients’ BMI, but they also discovered a significant reduction in cytokines, which promote inflammation. The results also found that after two years of surgery, patients’ telomeres were 80% longer in both cells and blood samples.
These are phenomenal results considering the effect shorter telomeres have on a person’s overall health. To review more information from the study, visit the article on Medical News Today: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/311533.php.
If you’re interested in learning more about bariatric surgery at Scottsdale Liberty Hospital, call 480-586-2300. For more information about Scottsdale Liberty Hospital in general and how we can help you or a loved one, visit our information request page. We look forward to hearing from you!
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.