Findings of a recent UK study are suggesting that weight loss surgery can help in reducing the risk of heart attacks and diabetes and can also keep fat off. The said study is the biggest comprehensive research on bariatric surgery; it was carried out for a period of four years and had almost 8,000 patients as participants.

The study authors said that the health benefits offered by the surgery are substantial and apparent for obese and severely overweight individuals. According to estimates put forward by them, as many as 1.4 million people in Britain can benefit from the surgery. Right now, on average only around 8,000 individuals undergo the treatment every year on the National Health Service (NHS).

The researchers said that if each of the 1.4 million overweight or obese individuals could be offered weight loss surgery, the number of heart attacks in the country could be reduced by as many as 5,000 over 4 years. According to the researchers, the number of type 2 diabetes cases the step would have reduced during a 4 year period would be 40,000.

Here, it has to be kept in mind that every surgery comes with risks of its own. So, an individual should undergo bariatric surgery (or a doctor should recommend such a surgery to a person) if his or her attempts of losing weight through physical activity and healthy eating didn’t show any result. Experts say that weight loss surgery should never be treated as a quick fix.

Dr. Ian Douglas, a representative of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the study’s lead author, said that the results thrown up by the study are truly encouraging.

Must Read: Weight loss surgery cuts diabetes and heart attack risk

During the four-year-long study, researchers compared a total of 3,882 patients treated with weight loss surgery with another 3882 patients who didn’t undergo any such procedure. The procedures the researchers looked at include sleeve gastrectomy, gastric banding, and gastric bypass. Each of these three procedures resulted in weight loss between 20 and 48 kg. What’s more the weight lost by patients stayed off.

This weight loss led to significant reduction of the individuals’ chances of having heart attacks, angina, hypertension, and type-2 diabetes. Among people who were already diabetics, the surgical procedures were found to improve the condition substantially. That’s not all; nearly 60% could come off their high blood sugar medications altogether.