In the recent years, the problem of obesity has been gaining momentum. Statistics show that there has been a 30% surge in the number of people classified as overweight in the USA alone in the last 30 years, with Australia and UK (at 26% and 25% rise) not far behind. The trend looks similar for all the other countries, so is it any wonder that the media and the medical professionals have been referring to obesity as an “epidemic”?
There are multiple health issues connected to obesity. Heart disease, stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure are the most talked-about, but osteoarthritis, gallstones, and breathing problems shouldn’t be overlooked either. Even though obesity doesn’t necessarily imply any of the listed conditions, it does heighten the risk of illness. Therefore, it’s not surprising that people are trying to lose weight and get in shape rapidly.
Dieting and regular exercise are the most common ways of dealing with excess weight. Prevention is another good method of battling obesity (remember, it’s always easier to gain weight than to lose it later). However, for the more extreme cases, or for the situations in which it’s important to get results quickly, people may opt for weight loss surgery.
There are different kinds of weight-loss surgery, classified into three categories: restrictive, malabsorptive and surgery which is used to insert an electrical device. Restrictive surgery will remove a part of the stomach, so that the patient eats less, and lose weight that way. Malabsorptive surgery works by limiting the body’s absorption of calories and is usually combined with the first kind. Finally, insertion of a device tricks your brain into thinking that you’re not hungry. So, which kind is the way to go?
There are several options available. This text will give you a brief overview of the most common ones.
Gastric bypass was the most popular kind of weight loss surgery in the USA in 2010, when 58.4% of all patients opted for it. This is a combination of restrictive and malabsorptive types. The stomach is divided into two sections, and then the upper section is connected to the small intestine. What this does is create a bypass for the food, so that it avoids parts of the digestive system, which basically causes the body to absorb fewer calories. The most important benefit of this option is that the body will lose weight very quickly (about 70% of the excess weight in the first 18 months), which will, in turn, relieve the symptoms of any conditions connected to obesity. It is also effective in the long run, with patients keeping their body weight for the next 10 years or more.
However, as with all malabsorptive interventions, the body won’t get enough nutrients due to the lack of absorptive power. In practice, that means that the patient will need to take supplements and adjust their eating habits. Another downside is that the risk of the dumping syndrome, which is very high after gastric bypass.
Sleeve gastric surgery is another very popular method of weight loss, and it is basically the first part of the gastric bypass procedure! This way, the doctors operate only on the stomach, removing about 70-80% of it, without creating a shortcut to the small intestine. As a result, hunger reduces, and a smaller portion of food can be eaten. Since it doesn’t affect the ability to absorb the food, there is no dumping syndrome, and the body is able to get all the nutrients it needs. Doctors who promote gastric sleeve surgery in Newcastle also stress out the importance of the fact that it lowers the levels of the hormone of hunger, which otherwise causes overeating. Weight loss is as swift as with gastric bypass, and the health benefits are as noticeable as well.
On the other hand, this procedure is still relatively new, so the full extent of it, in terms of long-term results, is still not known.
Even though it’s not as popular as it used to be, gastric banding is still worthy of mention because of the many benefits it provides. It is a much less invasive procedure than the first two. The doctor uses a band to squeeze the stomach into an hourglass shape, which leaves the patient with a smaller upper part and a larger lower one, which are still connected. Practically, this means that the patient will get full more quickly, and eat less. The band is adjustable and removable, which means that this procedure is reversible.
Unfortunately, the weight loss is not as quick as it is with the bypass and gastric sleeve surgeries, and it shows weaker long-term results.
Weight loss surgery is a useful tool in combating obesity, and hopefully now you have a better idea of what to expect and what to look for. However, bear in mind that most of these are irreversible, so consider all your options carefully before making a decision.