Gastric bypass surgery is a medical weight loss option for many people. While it’s not right for everyone, knowing more about gastric bypass surgery can help you decide if it’s a way for you to achieve your weight loss goals.
The Worldwide Obesity Trend
Let's be honest. We're living in a world marked by an increasing trend towards obesity. This is happening in advanced nations like the U.S. and in recently developed nations like Malaysia. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. obesity rate was 39.8 percent, affecting 93 million adults in 2015-2016. Another study estimated the Malaysian obesity rate to be 17.7 percent among adults. While Malaysia's obesity rate was lower, its growth in recent years equates to a public health epidemic. Obesity is clearly becoming a global epidemic.
How Obesity Affects Your Health and Well-Being
If you are carrying around extra weight and your doctor is concerned about your health, please know this condition is serious. Being obese greatly increases your risk factors for diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, reduced lung function, and developing cancers. People suffering from obesity may also experience psychological effects stemming from social stigma, mental health crises, and issues with their self-esteem.
The Causes of Obesity
An adult in the U.S. is considered to be obese if his or her Body Mass Index, or BMI indicates their body weight in relation to height falls within a healthy range. Some people struggle with an elevated BMI throughout adulthood while trying various dieting and exercise habits. The reasons for becoming obese differ. Some patients can pinpoint a family history of obesity or a thyroid problem. The following habits may also contribute to an adult being very overweight:
- Consuming a greater number of calories than needed.
- A sedentary lifestyle.
- An increased intake of high-fat food.
If you are already eating right and exercising 4 to 5 times per week, you could be stuck at a weight that is unacceptable to you. You may have physical limitations that prevent you from achieving the level of exercise that will result in greater weight loss.
Is Gastric Bypass Surgery for You?
According to a National Institutes of Health consensus panel, doctors use these indicators for bariatric surgery when their intent is to reduce a patient's risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and other medical problems:
- All patients with BMI (kg/m2) > 40.
- Patients with BMI 35-40 with associated comorbid conditions.
- Patients with less severe obesity, such as persons with a BMI 30-35 who also have type 2 diabetes.
Gastric Bypass Surgery
There are various surgeries that limit the food intake of an obese person. One option is called gastric bypass, which permanently changes the structure of the stomach and reduces how much a patient can eat. There are two steps to the gastric bypass procedure.
- A surgeon makes a small pouch that will only hold 1 ounce of food from the upper portion of the stomach.
- A surgeon connects the pouch to a small section of the small intestine.
A surgeon may make an incision to open the patient's belly or use a laparoscope, which involves inserting a tiny camera into the belly button and then making several tiny incisions in the patient's belly.
Potential Risks and Benefits of Bariatric Procedures
If you're considering bariatric surgery, it is important to understand that all medical procedures, whether invasive or non-invasive, come with a list of risks. A surgeon must first review a patient's medical records and evaluate his or her risk factors to determine which weight loss procedure, if any, is right for the individual. Additionally, a bariatric surgeon will consult with an anesthesiologist to understand his or her risks for each surgery. A patient's overall health is carefully evaluated before any procedures are explored. Also, a surgeon may recommend that a patient address particular health issues or habits before qualifying for surgery. If your doctor determines surgery is a good option, your next step will be to find an experienced bariatric surgeon and weight loss team.
Choosing the Best Option
With numerous advances in medicine and surgical technology, bariatric surgeries are accessible to more adults within the U.S. today. Typically, a surgeon will counsel a patient and address any questions he or she may have about bariatric services. The surgeon’s staff will review procedural questions and address insurance coverage. A doctor determines the weight and BMI that's considered healthy for a patient’s age, gender, height, and weight. To be eligible for bariatric surgery, a candidate must meet the obesity requirements, and must also be able to handle general anesthesia and other risks associated with surgery. For more information about gastric bypass, please contact us today.