Overall death risk drops with weight-loss surgery, GHS study shows

Coming from a family where everyone was overweight, Missy Settle could see where her life was headed.

At age 35, she weighed 307 pounds and had a handful of diseases and afflictions including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and sleep apnea.

"I was so young," she said, "and yet I had these serious health issues already."

The Spartanburg resident tried to diet but admits she lacked the willpower to sustain calorie restrictions for long. But after watching her father die at 59 and then her mother at age 64 - both of complications from their obesity - Settle could see her fate.

"My doctor told me, 'You've got to do something,'" Settle said.

So on April 15, 2009, Settle had bariatric surgery, which irreversibly reduces the size of the patient's stomach. Almost immediately, she was able to give up the medication she had been taking for diabetes. After six weeks, she no longer needed her blood pressure drugs.

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06-21-2011 03:58 (EDT)