The Sugar/Obesity Connection

In ancient times, sugar was regarded not as something to be avoided but rather as a cure-all for anything that ailed you. In every culture, sweetness has a symbolism related to goodness. It was valued so highly partly because it was so rare, obtainable mostly in tiny quantities as honey. Now, we demonize it, and yet we can’t seem to stop gorging on it. Few plants have caused more human misery than sugar cane — through obesity, tooth decay, and Type 2 diabetes. Yet despite everything we now know about the harm caused by sugar and other modern sweeteners, such as high-fructose corn syrup, it never stops being something we seem to delight in.

There’s no doubt that sugar adds to the prevalence of obesity in America. Therefore, every food product that includes sugar may be contributing to the scope and costs of the obesity epidemic, accelerating the volume of premature deaths among millions of people in the United States.

Obesity and overweight rates have steadily grown. Type 2 diabetes, once unheard of among kids or even young adults, now is an increasingly common diagnosis among children. Obesity and obesity-related diseases have become the world’s leading killer.

Fortunately, sugar affects all of us differently, and for many people it is neither addictive or deadly. Just like many other substances that carry inherent risk, sugar can be safely used in moderation by most people without wreaking havoc on their lives or contributing to their premature deaths.

While calories from any food have the potential to increase the risk of obesity and other cardiometabolic diseases, nutrition researchers agree that sugar-sweetened beverages play a unique role in chronic health problems. The disease risk increases even when the beverages are consumed within diets that do not result in weight gain.

Doctors have long suspected sugar is not simply a source of excess calories but a fundamental cause of obesity and type 2 diabetes. But until recently, fat consumption and total energy balance have dominated the debate about obesity and the nature of a healthy diet.

Official estimates are that one in 11 people in the United States has diabetes, and latest diabetes-1724617__340estimates suggest that obesity and diabetes may now cost the US healthcare system as much as 1 billion dollars per day. In 2016, World Health Organization (WHO) director general Margaret Chan described the twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes worldwide as a “slow-motion disaster” — and suggested that the likelihood of preventing the current “bad situation” from getting “much worse” was “virtually zero.”

The past decade has seen a renewed interest in the possibility that calorific sweeteners — particularly sugar and high fructose syrups — have major roles in causing obesity and diabetes, and major public health organizations are now recommending strict limits to the consumption of these sugars. Much of the current discussion about sugar focuses on the effects of excess energy intake and weight gain, and the subsequent risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and some forms of dementia. But while being overweight or obese increases your risk of these diseases, excess weight is not a prerequisite.

While the development of diseases is no doubt also based on genes and lifestyle factors other than diet, the evidence of the potential harms of high-sugar diets is accumulating. It’s certainly compelling enough for many to consider limiting how much sugar we eat and drink. Whether or not the sugar itself is the culprit, sugary foods are linked to health problems, and that should be reason enough to cut down.

If you’re looking for ways to treat severe obesity, schedule an appointment with VIPSurg. Drs. Tsuda and Ryan and their team of experts can help find the right treatment for you.

High Blood Pressure AKA Hypertension: What You Need to Know

High blood pressure (aka hypertension) is dangerous because it makes the heart work too hard and contributes to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). It increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, which are the first- and third-leading causes of death among Americans. High blood pressure also can result in other conditions such as congestive heart failure, kidney disease, and blindness. About two-thirds of people over age 65 have high blood pressure. 

If you have high blood pressure, you and your health care provider need to work together as a team to reduce it. The two of you need to agree on goals and make a plan and timetable for reaching your goals. 

Blood pressure is usually measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and is recorded blood pressureas two numbers—systolic pressure (as the heart beats) “over” diastolic pressure (as the heart relaxes between beats)—for example, 130/80 mmHg. Monitoring your blood pressure at home between visits to your doctor can be helpful. 

Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing high blood pressure. In fact, your blood pressure rises as your body weight increases. Losing even 10 pounds can lower your blood pressure—and losing weight has the biggest effect on those who are overweight and already have hypertension.

Being physically active is one of the most important things you can do to prevent or control high blood pressure. All you need is 30 minutes of moderate-level physical activity on most days of the week. Examples of such activities are brisk walking, bicycling, raking leaves, and gardening. You can even divide the 30 minutes into shorter periods of at least 10 minutes each. 

What you eat affects your chances of getting high blood pressure. A healthy eating plan can both reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure and lower a blood pressure that is already too high. For an overall eating plan, consider the DASH diet, which stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.” You can reduce your blood pressure by eating foods that are low in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol, and high in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods. The DASH eating plan includes whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts, and has low amounts of fats, red meats, sweets, and sugared beverages. It is also high in potassium, calcium, and magnesium, as well as protein and fiber. Eating foods lower in salt and sodium also can reduce blood pressure.

If you have high blood pressure, unfortunately the lifestyle habits noted above may not be enough to lower your blood pressure to a healthy level. In addition to eating healthy and staying active, you may need to take medication. There are many drugs available to lower blood pressure. They work in various ways. Often patients need to use two or more drugs to bring their blood pressure down enough to be healthy.

If you are suffering from obesity, and diet and exercise alone aren’t working to lower your weight, schedule an appointment at VIPSurg. Our experts can help you find a treatment to fits your unique situation. Call (702) 487-6000 to schedule an appointment.

Metabolic Syndrome: Risks and Prevention

Once known in the medical community as “syndrome X” or “insulin resistance syndrome”, metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels — that occur together, increasing one’s risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Although it sounds mysterious, Syndrome X is very common.

As is true with many medical conditions, genetics and the environment both play important roles in the development of metabolic syndrome. Genetic factors influence each individual component of the syndrome and the syndrome itself. A family history that includes type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and early heart disease greatly increases the chance that an individual will develop metabolic syndrome. On the other hand, environmental issues such as low activity level, sedentary lifestyle, and progressive weight gain also contribute significantly to the risk of developing metabolic syndrome.

The following factors increase your chances of having metabolic syndrome:

  • Age — Your risk of metabolic syndrome increases with age.
  • Race — In the United States, Mexican-Americans appear to be at the greatest risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
  • Obesity — Carrying too much weight, especially in your abdomen, increases your risk of metabolic syndrome.
  • Diabetes — You’re more likely to have metabolic syndrome if you had diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes) or if you have a family history of type 2 diabetes.
  • Other diseases — Your risk of metabolic syndrome is higher if you’ve ever had cardiovascular disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, or polycystic ovary syndrome.

The good news is that with changes to diet and exercise, you can prevent, control, or even reverse metabolic syndrome. If you don’t, you could develop significant health risks related to diabetes, heart disease, and stroke as part of the condition. Because your risk for metabolic syndrome increases with age, it’s important to start adjusting your health habits early on.

If you are diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, aggressive lifestyle changes will likely be the prescription. While medication is often necessary for those with this diagnosis, changes in diet and exercise can delay or even prevent the development of serious health problems related to metabolic syndrome. 

If you are looking for treatment for severe obesity and the life-threatening conditions that often accompany it, schedule an appointment at VIPSurg. Our expert team can help find the right treatment for you. 

metabolic syndrome

Benefits of Robotic Surgery

Technology is changing the way we do practically everything now, and the medical world isn’t immune. The da Vinci robot is changing the way surgeons are performing operations and is providing benefits to both patients and doctors.

While the surgeon sits at a modified computer console, he/she can control the instruments and camera. Placing their fingers into the master controls, the surgeon operates the arms of the da Vinci robot while simultaneously looking through a stereoscopic high-definition monitor that gives a better, more detailed 3-D view of the operating site than the human eye can provide. Every movement he makes with the master controls is replicated precisely by the robot. The robot’s “hands” have a high degree of dexterity, allowing surgeons the ability to operate in very tight spaces in the body that would otherwise only be accessible through open (long incision) surgery.

Using the da Vinci robot allows surgeons to perform a growing number of surgical procedures. Since these surgeries can be done through very small incisions, patients experience many benefits compared to open surgery, including:

  • Less trauma on the body
  • Shorter hospitalization
  • Reduced pain and discomfort
  • Faster recovery time and return to normal activities
  • Smaller incisions, resulting in reduced risk of infection
  • Reduced blood loss and transfusions
  • Minimal scarring

The surgical team supervises the robot at the patient’s bedside. Unlike traditional surgery where the surgeon stands over the patient sometimes for hours, a surgeon using the da Vinci system is seated, substantially decreasing surgeon fatigue. Add in the greater visualization abilities, enhanced dexterity, and greater precision and there are major advantages for both patients and surgeons using robotic surgery alike.

Dr. Tsuda and Dr. Ryan at VIPSurg are expert robotic surgeons. Call 702-487-6000 to schedule a consultation.

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DASH Your High Blood Pressure Away

DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH diet is a lifelong approach to healthy eating that’s designed to help treat or prevent high blood pressure (hypertension). The DASH diet encourages you to reduce the sodium in your diet and eat a variety of foods rich in nutrients that help lower blood pressure, such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

Because the DASH diet is a healthy way of eating, it offers health benefits besides just asparagus-2169305_960_720lowering blood pressure. The DASH diet is also in line with dietary recommendations to prevent osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

The DASH diet emphasizes vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy foods — and moderate amounts of whole grains, fish, poultry, and nuts.

Here’s a look at the recommended servings from each food group for the 2,000-calorie-a-day DASH diet:

  • Grains: 6 to 8 servings a day — Grains include bread, cereal, rice and pasta. Examples of one serving of grains include 1 slice whole-wheat bread, 1-ounce dry cereal, or 1/2 cup cooked cereal, rice or pasta.
  • Vegetables: 4 to 5 servings a day — Vegetables are full of fiber, vitamins, and such minerals as potassium and magnesium. Examples of one serving include 1 cup raw leafy green vegetables or 1/2 cup cut-up raw or cooked vegetables.
  • Fruits: 4 to 5 servings a day — Like vegetables, fruits are packed with fiber, potassium and magnesium and are typically low in fat.
  • Dairy: 2 to 3 servings a day — Milk, yogurt, cheese and other dairy products are major sources of calcium, vitamin D and protein. But the key is to make sure that you choose dairy products that are low fat or fat-free because otherwise they can be a major source of fat — and most of it is saturated. Examples of one serving include 1 cup skim or 1 percent milk, 1 cup low fat yogurt, or 1 1/2 ounces part-skim cheese.
  • Lean meat, poultry and fish: 6 servings or fewer a day — Meat can be a rich source of protein, B vitamins, iron and zinc. Choose lean varieties and aim for no more than 6 ounces a day.
  • Nuts, seeds and legumes: 4 to 5 servings a week — Almonds, sunflower seeds, kidney beans, peas, lentils and other foods in this family are good sources of magnesium, potassium and protein. They’re also full of fiber and phytochemicals, which are plant compounds that may protect against some cancers and cardiovascular disease. Serving sizes are small and are intended to be consumed only a few times a week because these foods are high in calories. Examples of one serving include 1/3 cup nuts, 2 tablespoons seeds, or 1/2 cup cooked beans or peas.
  • Fats and oils: 2 to 3 servings a day — Fat helps your body absorb essential vitamins and helps your body’s immune system. But too much fat increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Examples of one serving include 1 teaspoon soft margarine, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise or 2 tablespoons salad dressing.
  • Sweets: 5 servings or fewer a week — You don’t have to banish sweets entirely while following the DASH diet — just go easy on them. Examples of one serving include 1 tablespoon sugar, jelly or jam, 1/2 cup sorbet, or 1 cup lemonade.

While the DASH diet is not a weight-loss program, you may indeed lose unwanted pounds because it can help guide you toward healthier food choices.

Remember, healthy eating isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. What’s most important is that, on average, you eat healthier foods with plenty of variety — both to keep your diet nutritious and to avoid boredom or extremes. With the DASH diet, you can have both.

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are dealing with health issues that come with obesity, contact VIP Surg. Dr. Tsuda and his team can help you find the treatment that works best for you. Call 702-487-6000 today for an appointment.

 

High Blood Pressure: Do these Things Now to Prevent Future Problems

Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of arteries, and it’s normal for it to rise and fall throughout the day. However, when blood pressure stays elevated over time, it’s called hypertension (aka high blood pressure). High blood pressure is dangerous because it makes the heart work too hard and contributes to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). It increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, which are the first- and third-leading causes of death among Americans. High blood pressure also can result in other conditions, such as congestive heart failure, kidney disease, and blindness. About two-thirds of people over age 65 have high blood pressure. This means that even if you don’t have high blood pressure now, you are likely to develop it in the future unless you adopt a healthy lifestyle.

  • Maintain a healthy weight – Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing high blood pressure. In fact, your blood pressure rises as your body weight increases. Losing even 10 pounds can lower your blood pressure, and losing weight has the biggest effect on those who are overweight and already have hypertension.
  • Be physically active – Being physically active is one of the most important things you can do to prevent or control high blood pressure. Try to engage in physical activity for a total of 30 minutes on most days of the week. You can do this by combining everyday chores with moderate-level sporting activities, such as walking.
  • Follow a healthy eating plan – What you eat affects your chances of getting hightape-403593__340 blood pressure. A healthy eating plan can both reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure and lower a blood pressure that is already too high. An important part of healthy eating is choosing foods that are low in salt (sodium chloride) and other forms of sodium. Using less sodium is key to keeping blood pressure at a healthy level. Use spices, garlic, and onions to add flavor to your meals without adding more sodium. Set up a healthy eating plan with foods low in saturated fat,total fat, and cholesterol, and high in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods.
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation – In addition to raising blood pressure, too much alcohol can add unneeded calories to your diet. If you drink alcoholic beverages, have only a moderate amount—one drink a day for women, two drinks a day for men.
  • Take prescribed medications as directed – If you need drugs to help lower your
    lood pressure, you still should follow the lifestyle changes mentioned above. Use notes and other reminders to help you remember to take your meds. Ask your family to help you with reminder phone calls and messages.

These are just a few of the relatively easy things you can do to help lower or prevent hypertension. Ultimately, keeping blood pressure at healthy levels can be quite difficult – especially if you are dealing with other severe health problems such as obesity and the issues that often accompany it. If you live in the Las Vegas area and are considering weight-loss surgery, schedule a consultation with VIP SURG. We can help find the right treatment for you.

Most Common Surgical Treatments for Clinically Severe Obesity

The obesity epidemic continues to grow in our country, and with obesity comes a whole host of additional health risks, like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis and stroke. Those looking to reduce these obesity-related health risks are turning to bariatric or medical weight-loss surgeries like gastric bypass.

With weight-loss surgery, your surgeon makes changes to your stomach or small intestine, or both. The procedure resolves diabetes 80 percent of the time, and patients lose an average of 70 percent of extra weight. However, gastric bypass isn’t the only choice. Learn about your options:

Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band – The surgeon puts a small band around the top of your stomach. The band has a small balloon inside it that controls how tight or loose the band is. The band limits how much food can go into your stomach. This surgery is done using a laparoscope. Advantages include:

  • Minimally invasive with small incisions
  • Short hospital stay
  • Adjustable without additional surgery
  • Can support pregnancy
  • Removable at any time

Laparoscopic Gastric Sleeve – This surgery removes most of the stomach and leaves only a narrow section of the upper part of the stomach, called a gastric sleeve. The surgery may also curb the hunger hormone ghrelin, so you eat less. Advantages include:

  • No cutting, bypassing, or stapling of the intestine
  • Little concern about vitamin and calcium absorption
  • No adjustments or artificial devices put into place
  • Most foods are possible

Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery – The surgeon leaves only a very small part of the stomach (called the pouch). That pouch can’t hold a lot of food, so you eat less. The food you eat bypasses the rest of the stomach, going straight from the pouch to your small intestine. This surgery can often be done through several small incisions using a camera to see inside (laparoscope). Doctors can also perform a mini-gastric bypass, which is a similar procedure also done through a laparoscope. Advantages include:

  • Tiny incisions, resulting is less scarring and easier healing
  • Excellent cosmetic result
  • Little pain
  • Few wound complications
  • Fast recovery
  • Short hospital stay
  • Resuming physical activity soon
  • Little risk of hernia formation

Duodenal Switch- This is complicated surgery that removes most of the stomach and uses a gastric sleeve to bypass most of your small intestine. It limits how much you can eat. It also means your body doesn’t get as much of a chance to absorb nutrients from your food, which could mean you don’t get enough of the vitamins and minerals you need. Advantages include:

  • Results in greater weight loss than other methods, i.e. 60 – 70% percent excess weight loss or greater, at 5 year follow up
  • Allows patients to eventually eat near normal meals
  • Reduces the absorption of fat by 70 percent or more
  • Causes favorable changes in gut hormones to reduce appetite and improve satiety
  • Is the most effective against diabetes compared to other methods

If you’re considering bariatric surgery, schedule an appointment with Dr. Shawn Tsuda. He can help you decide which, if any, of these treatments is right for your unique situation.Fat man running