Obesity and Weight Loss Surgery

Severe obesity is a chronic condition that is difficult to treat through diet and exercise alone. Bariatric surgery is one of the best options for people who are severely obese and cannot lose weight by traditional means or who suffer from serious obesity-related health problems. The surgery promotes weight loss by restricting food intake and, in some operations, interrupting the digestive process. As in other treatments for obesity, the best results are achieved with healthy eating behaviors and regular physical activity.

To be considered, you must be 100lbs or more over your ideal body weight with a BMI of 40 or greater. Surgery may also be considered for patients with a BMI of 35 who have other serious health conditions. These serious health conditions are known as co-morbidities. Common co-morbidities include Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, sleep apnea, respiratory problems, gallbladder disease, depression, and infertility.

 Often treating the obesity will improve or eliminate the co-morbidities. Normally, as food moves along the digestive tract, digestive juices and enzymes digest and absorb calories and nutrients. After we chew and swallow our food, it moves down the esophagus to the stomach, where a strong acid continues the digestive process.

When the stomach contents move to the first segment of the small intestine, bile and pancreatic juice speed up digestion. Most of the iron and calcium in the foods we eat is absorbed here. The remaining two segments of small intestine complete the absorption of almost all calories and nutrients. Food not absorbed goes to the lower intestine. Gastrointestinal surgery for obesity alters the digestive process.

Today there are two types of procedures used, restrictive and malabsorptive. Operations that only reduce stomach size are known as restrictive operations because they restrict the amount of food the stomach can hold. The operations promote weight loss by closing off parts of the stomach to make it smaller. When an operation combines stomach restriction with a partial bypass of the small intestine, creating a direct connection from the stomach to the lower segment of the small intestine, literally bypassing portions of the digestive tract that absorb calories and nutrients. These are known as malabsorptive operations.

 For those of you suffering from severe obesity and related health conditions, weight-loss surgery may be the solution you have been searching for. Studies demonstrate that weight-loss surgery yields a long period of sustained weight loss in patients who have failed other therapies.

Bariatric Surgery is for many a last resort to weight loss. Bariatric surgery is a powerful tool, but to succeed patients need to actively participate in a weight-loss program which includes medical, nutritional, emotional, and exercise counseling. Even after surgery, to achieve results and maintain optimal weight one must develop and keep healthy habits. For more information about Bariatric Surgery, consult your physician to determine if you are a candidate for weight loss surgery.


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