Background: We evaluated the prevalence of co-morbidities, in particular diabetes, in a diverse population of morbidly obese patients who underwent gastric bypass surgery at our institution in New York City.
Methods: A retrospective study of 300 patients who had bariatric surgery between January 2001 and April 2002 was conducted.
Results: 57% of the patients had at least one metabolic complication, 30% had diabetes, 38% hypertension and 35% dyslipidemia. Our population was ethnically diverse, with 40% Hispanic, 34% Caucasian, 25% African-American and 1% Asian. There was no difference in the prevalence of diabetes among races. However, Caucasians had the highest prevalence of hyperlipidemia, and the Hispanic patients were the least hypertensive. Among patients with diabetes, one-third were undiagnosed and 50% untreated. Similarly, 45% of the hypertensive patients and 51% of those with hyperlipidemia remained undiagnosed. Men had more co-morbidities than women.
Conclusion: These results suggest a high prevalence of co-morbid conditions in severely obese patients undergoing bariatric surgery. Age, ethnicity and gender influence the type of co-morbid conditions. More research is needed to understand why diabetes and other metabolic complications remain undiagnosed and untreated in a large number of these high risk patients.