When it comes to cardiovascular health, men and women are very different. And now, findings presented at the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and the Obesity Society show another disparity between the sexes: Women who undergo weight loss surgery receive more protection from heart disease than their male counterparts, UPI reports.

Bariatric surgery describes any procedure that alters your stomach so you can’t eat as much or that modifies the structure of your intestines so you absorb less fat and calories. Some procedures address both issues. In addition, previous studies show that the surgery can help eliminate diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, gallbladder problems and about 30 other weight-related conditions.

For the study, researchers at Stanford University assessed the health of nearly 2,000 patients who underwent bariatric surgery. Scientists monitored everyone’s risk of heart disease in the decade before the procedure and one year after. Findings showed that women who opted for the procedure experienced a slightly reduced risk of cardiovascular complications when compared with men who chose the surgery.

“The findings suggest the women may have an enhanced mechanism of response to bariatric surgery, which leads to greater normalization of biochemical cardiac risk factors,” said John Morton, MD, director of bariatric surgery at Stanford Health Care and lead study author.

The study is one of the first of its kind to look at gender differences in response to weight loss surgery. This may help further research targeting heart disease risk in women. But scientists cautioned that these findings are viewed as preliminary until they’re published in a peer-reviewed journal. 

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