Severe Obesity and its Health Risks
Severe obesity is one of the most serious stages of obesity. You may often find yourself struggling with your weight and essentially feeling as if you’re trapped in a weight gain cycle. In addition, you most likely have attempted numerous diets – only in the end, to see your weight continue to increase. Exercise and diet alone often fail to effectively treat people with extreme and excessive obesity. Bariatric surgeries are done when diet and exercise haven’t worked or when you have serious health problems because of your weight. Weight loss is achieved by reducing the size of the stomach with a gastric band or through the removal of a portion of the stomach (sleeve gastrectomy or biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch) or by resecting and re-routing the small intestine to a small stomach pouch (gastric bypass surgery).
Bariatric surgery is designed to alter or interrupt the digestion process so that food is not broken down and absorbed in the usual way. A reduction in the number of nutrients and calories absorbed enables patients to lose weight and decrease their risk for obesity-related health risks or disorders.
Types of Bariatric Surgery
- Adjustable gastric banding (AGB)
- Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB)
- Biliopancreatic diversion with a duodenal switch (BPD-DS)
- Vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG)
Each of these types have their own advantages and disadvantages. Various patient factors affect which procedure is chosen including BMI, eating habits, health problems related to obesity, and the number of previous stomach surgeries. The patient and provider should discuss the most suitable option by considering the benefits and risks of each type of surgery.
Benefits of Bariatric Surgery
Apart from long and sustained weight loss, bariatric surgery provides the following benefits:
- Produces significant long-term weight loss and restricts the amount of food that can be consumed.
- Eliminates Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Joint Pain Relief
- Improved fertility
- helps improve or resolve many obesity-related conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and more.
Risks of Bariatric Surgery
The benefits of bariatric surgery must be weighed against its potential risks. In addition to the risks of the surgery itself (such as death, bleeding, infection, and blood clots), bariatric surgery may cause nutritional deficiencies in protein, vitamins, and minerals. Bone mineral density loss may develop from inadequate intestinal calcium absorption. Low blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia) after eating carbohydrates, and inadequate vitamin B-12 absorption causing nerve damage to the feet, legs, or hands (peripheral neuropathy), may occur over time.
Ideal Candidate for this Surgery
Bariatric surgery may be an option for adults who have:
- a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or more, OR
- a BMI of 35 or more with a serious health problem linked to obesity, such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or Sleep apnea
- a BMI of 30 or more with a serious health problem linked to obesity, for the gastric band only
- Surgery may be an option for teens who have gone through puberty and reached their adult height and have
- a BMI of 35 or more with serious obesity-related health problems, such as type 2 diabetes or severe sleep apnea, OR
- a BMI of 40 or more with less severe health problems, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
However, consult your doctor who may suggest some extensive screenings to undergo these weight loss surgeries.
- Immediately after surgery, you will eat liquefied or pureed foods for the first few weeks. It is important to eat small amounts so as not to stretch out your stomach. You can do this by eating 6 small meals a day. It is also important to eat slowly — over 20 to 30 minutes — and to chew each bite well so that your stomach isn’t overloaded, which may cause vomiting or stomach pain.
- Drink water — about 8 cups a day — approximately 30 minutes after you eat and don’t drink anything with your meals so that the fluid doesn’t fill up your stomach.
- It is important to take vitamin and mineral supplements for the rest of your life to prevent or treat nutritional deficiencies that may occur.
- Your doctor may have you start out with walking every day and then add in other aerobic activities like swimming or bicycle riding.
- You may also have to undergo frequent regular check-ups and may experience changes in the body as the body reacts to sudden weight loss surgery which may include mood swings, skin changes, and weakness.
- Patients may develop excess loose and folded skin that requires further surgery to remove and tighten.
Disclaimer: The above information has been prepared by a qualified medical professional and may not represent the practices followed universally. The suggestions listed in this article constitute relatively common advice given to patients, and since every patient is different, you are advised to consult your physician, if in doubt, before acting upon this information. Lupin Limited has only facilitated the distribution of this information to you in the interest of patient education and welfare.