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3 ways to improve heart health after bariatric surgery

Obesity carries a number of health risks, such as an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, infertility, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Updated: December 6, 2020
heart health after bariatric surgery
By MBL Featured Blogger: Karen Eisenbraun
Originally Posted: August 12, 2020

Heart Health After Bariatric Surgery |If you’ve been unable to lose excess weight through diet and exercise, bariatric surgery can help.

In fact, a number of studies have shown that bariatric surgery can help reverse or improve most comorbidities associated with obesity, including heart disease.

In addition to having weight-loss surgery, there are other steps you can take that can help accelerate the improvement of your heart health. Take a look at these three ways you can improve your heart health following bariatric surgery.

1. Stop eating sugar

If you’ve already had weight-loss surgery, your bariatric surgeon has already spoken to you about the importance of eating nutritious foods following surgery. Cutting out sugar from your diet is the next best step you can take to become healthier. Sugar can trigger and worsen inflammation, which is a major contributing factor to heart disease. Sugar doesn’t just exist in dessert foods like cookies and candy; it’s also present in most fruit juices, sodas, and alcoholic beverages.

Try limiting your added sugar intake to just 20 grams per day or less. Decreasing your sugar intake will also help regulate your body’s insulin levels, which is helpful if you suffer from prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.

2. Stop stressing out

Stress doesn’t just make you irritable and put you in a bad mood; it also has a major impact on your physical health. When you’re stressed, your blood pressure and heart rate increase, and your blood vessels constrict — increasing the risk for heart attack or stroke. A study published in the European Heart Journal found that those who experience angry outbursts that lead to stress are at five times higher risk for a heart attack within two hours of the event.

While it may not always be possible to eliminate stress from your life completely, you can learn how to effectively manage stress when it happens. Find out what works for you, whether it’s deep breathing, exercise, reading a book, or listening to music, and practice that particular behavior during moments of stress.

3. Establish a support system

Believe it or not, having a network of supportive friends and family members is key to reducing feelings of depression and improving heart health. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who typically lack support from friends, family, and other social groups have three times higher mortality rate than those with a support system.

If you’re a person who lacks family or social relationships, find a way to reach out and network with like-minded individuals. Look to your hobbies, first. Do you enjoy exercising and being active? Consider joining a fitness class at your local gym. Do you enjoy reading? Find and join a book club. If you’re unable to make friends doing the activities you love, consider doing volunteer work at a children’s hospital, homeless shelter, or another community event.

If you are interested in weight loss surgery, check out MBL’s Ultimate Guide To Weight Loss Surgery.

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Karen Eisenbraun is a certified holistic nutrition consultant and writer with a background in digital marketing. She has written extensively on the topics of nutrition and holistic health for many leading websites.

Karen received her nutrition certification from the American College of Healthcare Sciences in 2012. She follows a ketogenic diet and practices intermittent fasting. Karen advocates a whole foods approach to nutrition and believes in empowering yourself with information that allows you to make smarter decisions about your health.

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