Thousands of women and men have undergone weight loss surgery in the U.S., and throughout the world. These men and women have shed thousands of pounds in excess weight and live healthier lives. In fact here at the DENVER CENTER for BARIATRIC SURGERY (“DCBS”) Dr. Snyder has preformed over 2000 surgeries and our patients have lost in excess of 148,503 pounds. Although weight loss surgery (“WLS”) has grown in popularity, it remains a difficult decision to make and that is why we are very methodical in the approach, education and the care that is provided to each patient along their weight loss journey.
You now see, read and hear about WLS everywhere. We’ve watched television and entertainment personalities from singer Carnie Wilson to recording star and American Idol judge Randy Jackson lose weight after gastric bypass surgery. On the face of it, WLS sounds like a simple, quick fix for those with long term obesity. Of course, nothing is ever that easy. WLS is definitely not for those who want a quick fix or who simply don’t want to diet.
Patients who undergo WLS are provided pre and post surgical nutritional classes. These classes are designed to help our patients identify healthy foods and establish good eating habits that assist in reaching and maintaining their ideal weight and thus live a healthier life. Exercise is also a key component in weight loss program. Patients who exercise at least thirty minutes a day following WLS lose weight thirty percent faster, as well as gain the overall health benefits of regular exercise. With many things in life this requires a firm and lifelong commitment to certain lifestyle changes on the part of the patient.
Obesity-Related Health Conditions
Obesity-related health conditions are health conditions that, whether alone or in combination, can significantly reduce your life expectancy. A partial list of some of the more common conditions follows. Your doctor can provide you with a more detailed and complete list:
Type 2 Diabetes. Obese individuals develop a resistance to insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels. Over time, the resulting high blood sugar can cause serious damage to the body.
High blood pressure/Heart disease. Excess body weight strains the ability of the heart to function properly. The resulting hypertension (high blood pressure) can result in strokes, as well as inflict significant heart and kidney damage.
Osteoarthritis of weight-bearing joints. The additional weight placed on joints, particularly knees and hips, results in rapid wear and tear, along with pain caused by inflammation. Similarly, bones and muscles of the back are constantly strained, resulting in disk problems, pain and decreased mobility.
Sleep apnea/Respiratory problems. Fat deposits in the tongue and neck can cause intermittent obstruction of the air passage. Because the obstruction is increased when sleeping on your back, you may find yourself waking frequently to reposition yourself. The resulting loss of sleep often results in daytime drowsiness and headaches.
Gastroesophageal reflux/Heartburn. Acid belongs in the stomach and seldom causes any problem when it stays there. When acid escapes into the esophagus through a weak or overloaded valve at the top of the stomach, the result is called gastroesophageal reflux, and “heartburn” and acid indigestion are common symptoms. Approximately 10-15% of patients with even mild sporadic symptoms of heartburn will develop a condition called Barrett’s esophagus, which is a pre-malignant change in the lining membrane of the esophagus, a cause of esophageal cancer.
For more information on Heartburn, its causes and possible cures, visit http://www.heartburnhelp.com/.
Depression. Seriously overweight persons face constant challenges to their emotions: repeated failure with dieting, disapproval from family and friends, sneers and remarks from strangers. They often experience discrimination at work, cannot fit comfortably in theatre seats, or ride in a bus or plane.
Infertility. The inability or diminished ability to produce offspring.
Urinary stress incontinence. A large, heavy abdomen and relaxation of the pelvic muscles, especially associated with the effects of childbirth, may cause the valve on the urinary bladder to be weakened, leading to leakage of urine with coughing, sneezing, or laughing.
Menstrual irregularities. Morbidly obese individuals often experience disruptions of the menstrual cycle, including interruption of the menstrual cycle, abnormal menstrual flow and increased pain associated with the menstrual cycle.