Groundbreaking weight loss study at Cleveland Clinic; Local woman sees life-changing results

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CLEVELAND-- Carolyn Aukerman, of Wooster, struggled with weight loss for more than three decades after having children.

The 57-year old said she was 310 pounds at her heaviest, which led to diabetes and other health concerns.

"I had problems with my thyroid, I had problems with my kidneys," she said.

Aukerman was one of roughly 2, 300 patients who participated in a groundbreaking study at the Cleveland Clinic.

It found weight loss surgery significantly reduced heart problems in patients with diabetes and obesity.

"What we set out to do was to find out, is the increase in heart disease related to obesity and diabetes is is irreversible, or is it reversible," said Dr. Steven Nissen, coauthor of the study.

One of three Americans is obese. It's linked to Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, which is the major cause of death.

Researchers compared those 2,300 patients who underwent the surgery to 11,000 patients who had standard care.

"And they were followed for eight years to see what their heart related outcomes looked like," Nissen said.

Patients who underwent the surgery were 40 percent less likely to experience a major adverse cardiovascular event like heart attack, stroke and diabetic kidney disease.

Aukerman is now down to 170 pounds and no longer diabetic. Her kidney disease also cured.

"My advice is if you have the opportunity to get this done, do it. It is a life-saving thing. My whole life has changed completely," Aukerman said.

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