Could Bariatric Surgery Be the Right Choice for You?

Invest in your health advice on blackboard

Weight-loss surgery is a major, permanent life change. Most people don’t even consider it if they haven’t exhausted all other options. As a matter of fact, many people research weight-loss surgery for years and never act. Whether it is fear of a drastic life change or fear of failure, making this choice could be a matter of life and death.

The truth is, bariatric treatment could drastically improve the health, happiness, and lifespan for millions of Americans who currently qualify for it. If you are one of them, and you’re hesitating to have the surgery, here are some things to think about:

Why are you considering bariatric surgery? 

  • Obesity-related health problems
  • Depression
  • Out of breath quickly
  • Obesity discrimination
  • Relationship problems
  • Poor self-image
  • Failed diet and exercise programs

If you and your bariatric doctors decide that surgery makes sense for you, be prepared to do a lot of work both before surgery and for the rest of your life. Bariatric surgery should be thought of as one of the most effective tools available, but in order to succeed you must be ready to completely change your life.

According to the National Institutes of Health guidelines, you could be a good candidate for bariatric treatment if one of the following applies…

  • You have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more (“morbidly obese” or “super obese”)

OR

  • Your BMI is between 35 and 39.9 (“severely obese”), and you have a serious obesity-related health problem.

As mentioned above, bariatric treatment may be the best tool to make you happier and healthier, but that’s all it is — a tool. You will be the key to making it successful.

If you would like to talk to a doctor to see if bariatric surgery is a good option for you, schedule a consultation at VIPSurg. Their team of experts can help you make the right decision for your unique situation.

 

The Complexity of Obesity

People generally assume that obesity is strictly the product of bad choices about physical activity and diet. That kind of thinking gets in the way of dealing with obesity as a health condition.

Obesity is a very complicated condition. About 50 to 70% of one’s risk of obesity is genetically determined. You can make choices that make it better or worse, but that’s just like any other chronic disease. When the blame and shame that is so common gets in the way, it makes it hard to improve the health of people living with obesity.

A lot of health plans have broad, blanket exclusions for obesity, thinking that it is a cosmetic condition. However, the rise in the prevalence of obesity over the last 3 decades has made it clear that it’s creating a burden of chronic disease ranging from cardiovascular disease to diabetes to many cancers.

Because weight-based stereotypes and prejudice so often come from thinking that obesity is caused and sustained by personal characteristics such as laziness or lack of willpower, there is a need for increased public awareness and education about the complex biology of obesity and the significant obstacles present in efforts to achieve sustainable weight loss. The prevailing societal and media messages that reinforce blame on obese persons need to be replaced with messages that obesity is a chronic disease with a complex etiology. Obesity is a lifelong condition for most people who are overweight or obese.

Several studies have consistently demonstrated that experiencing weight stigma increases the likelihood of engaging in unhealthy eating behaviors and lower levels of physical activity, both of which exacerbate obesity and weight gain. Among youths, studies have demonstrated that overweight children who experience weight-based teasing are more likely to engage in binge eating and unhealthy weight-control behaviors compared with overweight peers who are not teased, even after control for variables such as BMI and socioeconomic status. 

Other research has consistently documented a positive association between weight-based victimization and eating disorder symptoms and bulimia. Weight-based victimization among overweight youths has been linked to lower levels of physical activity, negative attitudes about sports, and lower participation in physical activity among overweight students.

If you’re looking for treatment for this very real, physical disease, contact VipSurg for an appointment. Our expert team understands the complexity of obesity and all the issues that come with it. We can help find the right treatment for you.

Doctor writing word OBESITY with marker, Medical concept

Is Weight-Loss Surgery Right for You?

Weight-loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, is a safe and effective treatment for individuals suffering from morbid obesity, a serious health condition that can interfere with basic physical functions such as breathing or walking. Obesity puts people at greater risk for illnesses including diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gallstones, osteoarthritis, heart disease, and cancer.

To be considered morbidly obese, you must have a BMI of 40 or more or be 35 or more and experiencing obesity-related health conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. These are important for qualifying for a bariatric procedure.

People seeking weight-loss surgery are not usually considered candidates unless they have tried and failed to lose weight through traditional forms of treatment. People at high risk for disease or who have a life-threatening condition, including those with a disabling condition from obesity, are often considered good candidates for surgeries such as gastric bypass. People with a genetic condition that causes obesity are candidates as well.

Are you a candidate?

Weight-loss surgery may be right for you if:

  • Your BMI of 40 or more.
  • Your BMI is 35 or higher, and you also suffer from one or more health problem such as Type 2 Diabetes or Hypertension.
  • Your past attempts to lose weight have been unsuccessful.
  • You do not have any other disease that may have caused your obesity.
  • You are prepared to make substantial changes in your eating habits and lifestyle.

Other guidelines can include an extremely high body mass index, obesity that exists for five or more years, no history of alcohol or drug abuse, and no untreated psychiatric disorder. Candidates are typically between the ages of 18 and 65. Certain adolescents may be eligible for weight loss surgery, too.

Being a good candidate means having realistic expectations. Weight-loss surgery can help reduce your risk of life-threatening conditions and improve your overall health and appearance, and these changes should improve your quality of life; however, surgery alone is often not enough to turn your life around. Significant behavior modifications are necessary.

To decide about the gastric bypass procedure and to find out if you are a good candidate for weight loss surgery, talk to the doctors at VIP SURG. Their experts can help you find the right weight-loss treatment for your unique situation.

Bariatric Surgery - medical concept

Defining Obesity

To define what obesity means today, we can’t count on a dictionary. However, since obesity has become a growing national health problem in the U.S., it has perhaps never been more important that we have a working definition that we can all agree on.

In order to understand how someone is categorized as overweight or obese, the world’s health organizations have adopted the use of body mass index (BMI) to classify and communicate about body weight. BMI is a widely recognized weight-for-height index.

Unfortunately, this index does not quantify total body fat or convey information concerning regional distribution of fat — both of which are key to how obesity affects health. Nonetheless, BMI is an easily obtained measure that has been recommended for use in all age groups. Most clinical studies assessing the health effects of overweight and obesity rely on BMI.

Currently, the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization use the same measures of BMI for defining overweight. obese-3011213__340 (2)

  • If BMI is 25.0 to <30, it falls within the overweight range.
  • If BMI is 30.0 or higher, it falls within the obese range.

Since BMI describes body weight relative to height, it correlates strongly (in adults) with total body fat content. However, some very muscular people may have a high BMI without undue health risks.

Obesity is often from a combination of factors, based on both genetics and behavior. Accordingly, treating obesity usually requires more than just dietary changes.

Being overweight is a significant contributor to health problems. It increases the risk of developing a number of diseases including:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Cancer (certain forms such as cancer of the prostate and cancer of the colon and rectum)
  • Gallstones and gall bladder disease
  • Gout and arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis (degenerative arthritis) of the knees, hips, and the lower back
  • Sleep apnea

Ideally, health-oriented definitions of overweight and obesity should be used that are based on the amount of excess body fat that puts an individual at a higher risk for health problems. Unfortunately, no such definition currently exists. Health risks associated with increasing weight are part of a continuum. People can have weight-associated health problems at BMIs lower than 25, and others can have no identifiable health problems at BMIs significantly greater than 25.

Easily determine your BMI with this free calculator: http://bit.ly/1D0ZqDv.

If you’re interested in bariatric surgery, schedule an appointment with us. Our team of experts can find the right treatment for you.
 

Rates of Obesity are on the Rise

The global obesity rate has nearly doubled since 1980, and there are now over 200Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 11.51.03 AM million obese men and nearly 300 million obese women, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. In the United States, more than one third of adults (or 78.6 million people) are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Obesity is usually defined by using a ratio of height to weight called body mass index (BMI), which usually correlates with a person’s level of body fat. According to the CDC, an adult with a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.

At a fundamental level, obesity occurs when people regularly eat more calories than they burn, but actually a number of factors can contribute to obesity, including:

  • lack of physical activity
  • lack of sleep
  • genetics and certain medications that slow calorie burn, increase appetite, or cause water retention, such as corticosteroids, antidepressants, or some seizure medications

Modern culture, conveniences, and other environmental factors also, in part, contribute to obesity. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, environmental factors that promote obesity include:

  • oversized food portions
  • busy work schedules that don’t allow for physical activity
  • lack of access to healthy foods at supermarkets
  • lack of safe places for physical activity

Because friends share similar environments and carry out activities together that may contribute to weight gain, obesity has also been found to “spread” socially among friends according to a 2011 study published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Certain health conditions also can lead to weight gain, including:

  • Hypothyroidism — an underactive thyroid gland that slows metabolism and causes fatigue and weakness
  • PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome — which affects up to 10 percent of women of childbearing age and can also lead to excess body hair and reproductive problems
  • Cushing’s syndrome — which stems from an overproduction of the hormone cortisol by the adrenal glands and is characterized by weight gain in the upper body, face and neck
  • Prader-Willi syndrome– a rare condition in which people never feel full, and so they want to eat constantly, according to the Mayo Clinic

Although there are lots of fad diets, such short-term dietary changes are not the best way to maintain a healthy weight, the CDC says. Instead, people should aim to make long-term changes, such as eating healthy on a regular basis, and boosting daily physical activity. Even small amounts of weight loss — such as 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight – can have health benefits, the CDC says.

For people who are still severely obese after attempting to lose weight through diet and exercise, other treatments, such as bariatric surgery, may be an option. Bariatric surgery is recommended for people with a BMI of 40 or more, or if they have a serious health problem related to their obesity and have a BMI of 35 or more. In many cases, people with a BMI of 30 or more are eligible for one type of bariatric surgery if they also have at least one health problem linked with obesity.

If you’re struggling with obesity and live in the Las Vegas area, schedule an appointment with VIP Surg. Our experts can help find the right treatment for you.

 

The True Size of the American Obesity Epidemic

To understand the true magnitude of the American obesity epidemic, we first need to understand what it really means to be overweight. Doctors and nutritionists classify people as either underweight, healthy weight, overweight, or obese. These different classifications are determined by body mass index (BMI), or a measure of body fat based on your height and weight.

To get a basic idea, this chart from the CDC approximates what that means for someone who is 5’9” tall.

Height Weight Range BMI Considered
Source: CDC      
5′ 9″ 124 lbs or less Below 18.5 Underweight
  125 lbs to 168 lbs 18.5 to 24.9 Healthy weight
  169 lbs to 202 lbs 25.0 to 29.9 Overweight
  203 lbs or more 30 or higher Obese

As for what is driving America’s chronic weight problem, there are no definite answers. Scientific studies often reach conflicting conclusions. Many theories are out there, but the preponderance of evidence points to the two causes most people already suspect: too much food and too little exercise.

Bigger portions, confusing “diet” for “nutrition,” and lack of exercise are a deadly combination. Today, each American puts away an average of 195lbs of meat every year, compared to just 138lbs in the 1950’s. Consumption of added fats also shot up by around two thirds over the same period, and grain consumption rose 45% since 1970.

Research published by the World Health Organization found that a rise in fast food sales correlated to a rise in body mass index, and Americans are notorious for their fast-food consumption. It is not just how much we eat, but what we eat.

The role of diet in the obesity epidemic is obviously major, but it’s also complex. Consumers are sent mixed messages when it comes to what to eat and how much. Larger portions, processed packaged food, and drive-thru meals are branded as almost classically American — fast, cheap, filling, and delicious, but yet we spend billions of dollars annually on weight loss schemes.

Lack of exercise is also a major culprit in the obesity epidemic. A far greater majority of us are sitting throughout our workday. According to one study, only 20% of today’s jobs require at least moderate physical activity, as opposed to 50% of jobs in 1960. Other research suggests Americans burn 120 to 140 fewer calories a day than they did 50 years ago. Add this to the higher number of calories we are packing in, and we get a perfect recipe for weight gain.

A number of other factors are thought to play a role in the obesity epidemic, such as the in- utero effects of smoking and excessive weight gain in pregnant mothers. Poor sleep, stress, and lower rates of breastfeeding are also thought to contribute to a child’s long-term obesity risk. Of course, these factors are not explicit or solitary causes of obesity, but they are reliable indicators of the kinds of systemic problems contributing to this crisis.

In the end, though, we can’t lose sight of the big picture. Over the past years, diet fads have come and gone, with people rushing to blame red meat, dairy, wheat, fat, sugar, etc. for making them fat, but in reality, the problem is much simpler. Genetics and age do strongly influence metabolism, but as the CDC points out, weight gain and loss is primarily a formula of total calories consumed versus total calories used.

If you are looking for answers to debilitating obesity and the health issues that often accompany the extra weight, contact VIP Surg at (702) 487-6006. We can help you find the right treatment for your unique situation.

A pair of female feet on a bathroom scale

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