weight lossMarch is National Kidney Month. We know that there are many long term health benefits of weight loss surgery, but did you know that weight loss surgery, such as gastric sleeve surgery and gastric bypass surgery can help to protect your kidneys from damage and even prevent kidney failure?

According to the CDC, Kidney disease could affect up to 10% of American adults; around 20 million people, to varying degrees. Our chance of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD) increases with age and is most common among adults who are aged over 70. However, most cases of CKD are caused by health factors that can be reduced significantly with weight loss surgery. 44% of chronic kidney disease is caused by diabetes and a further 28% by high blood pressure, meaning that 72% of all kidney disease could potentially be prevented with weight loss surgery.

How Do Diabetes and Hypertension Cause Kidney Disease?

Our kidneys filter out toxins and by-products of protein metabolism from our blood. If we have too much sugar in our blood, the extra pressure on our kidneys means that the kidneys’ filter systems can leak other substances, such as protein, through the filters. Over time, this will result in a marked decrease in kidney function resulting ultimately in kidney failure.  This condition is known as diabetic nephropathy.

Similarly, the increased flow of blood through the kidneys caused by hypertension make the kidneys work harder, resulting in increased wear and tear to the kidneys, leading to long term damage over time.

How Can Weight Loss Surgery Help?

Although exact numbers vary slightly, studies show that weight loss surgery can reduce high blood pressure by over 60% and eliminate type 2 diabetes in 80% of patients. This reduction in blood pressure and high blood sugar levels can significantly reduce the strain on the kidneys, eliminating the ongoing damage and, ultimately, kidney failure, that is typical of chronic kidney disease.

One 2012 study designed specifically to look at the effects of weight loss surgery on diabetic nephropathy showed that a significant number of patients with diabetic nephropathy who underwent bariatric surgery achieved remission. The study followed 52 bariatric patients, of whom over a third suffered from diabetic nephropathy. In a five year follow up, the kidney disease had been eliminated in 58% of the patients with diabetic nephropathy, whilst 44% had achieved remission for their diabetes and a further 33% had seen a significant improvement in their diabetes.

Which Weight Loss Surgery For You?

Every patient is different and unique. As a result, it is impossible to say which weight loss surgery will work best. There are three main types of bariatric surgery: gastric bypass surgery, where the stomach is decreased in size and part of the small intestine is bypassed, meaning that not all of the food ingested is actually digested; gastric band surgery, where a small band is inserted to decrease the stomach capacity and gastric sleeve surgery, where a proportion of the stomach is sealed off, creating a sleeve-shaped, smaller stomach. In addition, there are cutting edge technologies and methods that can be used for each surgery, such as the Greenzone EndoFLIP® technology which enables us to accurately measure your actual stomach size and reduce it to the best size for you.

If you have a high BMI and are concerned about the existing, or future health implications of your weight, weight loss surgery could change your life, reducing or eliminating the health risks associated with obesity whilst improving your lifestyle, relationships and confidence. By contacting one of our US based case managers you can find out which weight loss surgery is best for you and make the decision to improve your health and your life, for longer.