Health & Fitness

The docs: Pain and function improve following bariatric surgery

During the Gold Rush of the 1840s and 50s, pioneers in wagon trains littered the Oregon Trail, especially in western Kansas and Colorado, with clothes, books, kitchenware and wooden crates in order to make it over the Rocky Mountains. They had no choice but to lighten their load if they were going to complete their journey to the Pacific Coast.

In the same way, people who battle obesity and all its associated health hazards can lighten their load by having bariatric surgery (Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, adjustable band or gastric sleeve). It will help them overcome obstacles in their path too!

When researchers at the Cleveland Clinic did a five-year follow-up on the STAMPEDE (Surgical Therapy And Medications Potentially Eradicate Diabetes Efficiently) study, they found that the surgery created “significant and durable improvements in bodily pain and general health.” As weight and the accompanying inflammation from body fat was cast off, walking became easier, joint pain was diminished and folks adopted a more physically active lifestyle. This was a particular benefit to the most obese -- the larger the person and the more weight lost, the better he or she felt. The researchers also found that more than 85 percent of sleeve and gastric bypass patients maintained healthy blood glucose levels five years later, making bariatric surgery the most effective treatment available for Type 2 diabetes!

So if you’re tired of immobility and joint pain, have diabetes and would like to lighten your load, ask your doctor if bariatric surgery is the right move for you.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit