Could Bariatric Surgery Be the Right Choice for You?

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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.

 

GERD: Ways to Alleviate Symptoms

Heartburn is a very common symptom created by acid reflux, a condition where some of the stomach contents, including stomach acid, are forced back up into the esophagus, creating a burning pain in the lower chest. Persistent acid reflux that happens more than twice a week results in the diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). According to estimates from the American College of Gastroenterology, at least 15 million Americans experience heartburn – the symptom of acid reflux – every day.

Most people are occasionally affected by heartburn, which is rarely a significant cause for concern. Recurrent acid reflux, however, resulting in the diagnosis of GERD can have serious consequences for health.

GERD is seen in people of all ages, and the cause is often attributable to a lifestyle factor, but it can also be due to unavoidable factors such as anatomical abnormalities affecting the valve at the top of the stomach. However, changes to lifestyle or behavior can prevent or improve heartburn symptoms.

The American Gastroenterological Association offers the following list of things to try to see if symptoms resolve:

  • Avoid food, drinks, and medicines that you find to be associated with heartburn irritation.
  • Eat smaller meals.
  • Do not lie down for two to three hours after a meal.
  • Lose weight if overweight or obese.
  • Avoid increased pressure on your abdomen, such as from tight belts or doing sit-ups.
  • Stop smoking.

It is important to address persistent problems with gastroesophageal reflux disease as long-term untreated acid reflux can lead to serious complications including an increased risk of cancer.

    The following foods are known to aggravate acid reflux, and should be avoided:

    • fatty or fried foods
    • peppermint and spearmint
    • whole milk
    • oils
    • chocolate
    • creamed foods or soups
    • most fast foods
    • citrus fruits and juices (grapefruit, orange, pineapple, tomato)
    • coffee (regular and decaffeinated)
    • caffeinated soft drinks
    • tea
    • other caffeinated beverages
    • spicy or acidic foods may not be tolerated by some individuals

If you suffer from GERD, schedule an appointment at VIPSurg. They can help you find the right treatment for your unique case.

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Eating Your Way to Healthy Blood Pressure

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, affects 1 in 3 American adults and can lead to significant health problems such as heart attack, stroke, heart or kidney failure, and more. Most doctors prescribe medication along with a healthy diet and exercise for this condition, but researchers are finding that some foods are better than others at helping control blood pressure.

You may know that excessive salt in your diet can raise blood pressure, but are you aware of the benefits of having enough potassium, magnesium, and fiber in your diet? Fruits and vegetables are high in these beneficial minerals and fiber and are naturally low in sodium. According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, people with hypertension may especially benefit from upping the amount of potassium in their diet. Adults should get at least 4,700 milligrams a day. A few good sources: bananas (422 milligrams each), a baked potato with skin (738 milligrams), orange juice (496 milligrams per cup), and nonfat or low-fat yogurt (531–579 milligrams per 8 ounces).

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan has been proven to lower blood pressure in studies sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. In addition to being a low salt (or low sodium) plan, the DASH diet provides additional benefits to reduce blood pressure. It is based on an eating plan rich in fruits and vegetables, and low-fat or non-fat dairy, with whole grains. It is a high fiber, low to moderate fat diet, rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Some delicious choices for increasing these beneficial minerals and fiber include apples, bananas, carrots, grapes, spinach, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, tuna, and yogurt. 

Dr. Tsuda and Dr. Ryan can provide you with nutritional guidance if necessary. They can help you find the right treatment to reduce the health risks of high blood pressure and other dangerous metabolic disorders that often accompany obesity. Call 702-487-6000 for a consultation.

Vegetables and High Blood Pressure

Healthy Strategies for the Holiday Weekend

Labor Day barbeques and picnics may seem exciting enough to forgo healthy eating; after all, the traditional end-of-summer weekend comes but once a year. In the long run, those celebrations aren’t as exciting as sticking to your eating plan and living a longer, healthier life. Work these tips into your party routine so that you can stick to your plan without missing a thing.

There are plenty of party foods that are naturally low in calories and seem equally festive. Go for crudités, lean grilled meats, chicken kebabs, salsa, grilled asparagus, boiled shrimp, and fruit. On a cheese tray, go for lower-calorie selections such as soft goat cheese and feta, and consider skipping the cracker when eating hard cheeses.

Before you even leave home, it’s a good idea to have a strategy:

  • Eat your calories – An easy way to cut calories without thinking is to watch the liquid calories. Each glass of wine or can of beer can be over 100 calories, and that’s not to mention the sugary drinks you may be tempted with on the side. Determine exactly how many glasses you want to enjoy before heading into the party so that you can plan accordingly. A pre-party workout can help you counterbalance a glass or two with little to no damage.
  • Balance is key – Try to balance out your plate with enough vegetables, protein, and whole grains. It helps to load the veggies on your plate first, then protein, so that you’re guaranteed to get enough nutrients without splurging on the first plate of carbohydrates you see. Remember that you can always go back for more.
  • Slow down – Being at a party can actually help slow the pace of your eating because of all the excitement going on. Think about enjoying the flavors as well as your company with every bite.
  • Don’t save up – A lot of people will try to save their appetite before big outings so that they can enjoy more of the delicious food that’s being offered. This is not a good strategy. Waiting too long to eat will not only send your body into starvation mode, but it will also shrink your stomach so that you feel full sooner when you do start to indulge. Eating throughout the day will maintain insulin levels and combat a binge, so try to digest something every three hours.

At VIPSurg, Dr. Tsuda and his team can help if you are considering bariatric surgery in the Las Vegas area. Schedule an appointment to find the right treatment for you.

Diverse people enjoying barbecue party together

Weight-loss Surgery or Diet and Exercise? Long-term Results Can Save Your Life

To maintain a healthy weight medical professionals emphasize that diet and exercise are key. If you want to lose weight, you must control calories and expend more by exercising. This has been the standard approach for decades. Recent research is telling a different story.

A growing number of studies, including one published in Medical News Today, are finding that for those who are obese, weight-loss/bariatric surgery may be more effective at reducing body weight than the old idea of changing habits and watching what you eat. The findings also suggested that bariatric surgery also increased remission rates in obese patients with Type 2 diabetes as well as heart disease.

 Bariatric surgery helps you lose weight and lowers your overall risk of associated medical problems in one of two ways:

  • Restriction. Surgery is used to physically limit the amount of food the stomach can hold, which limits the number of calories you can eat.
  • Limiting the absorption of nutrients including calories. Surgery is used to shorten or bypass part of the small intestine, reducing the amount of nutrients and number of calories the body absorbs.

Some of the more popular weight-loss surgeries are:

  • Gastric bypass – involves the creation of a small pouch in the top of the stomach. The pouch is the only part of the stomach that receives food. The small intestine is then cut a short distance below the main stomach and connected to the new pouch. Because food now bypasses a portion of the small intestines, absorption and calories are reduced.
  • Gastric banding – involves placing an inflatable balloon (band) around the top part of the stomach; this creates a small stomach pouch above the band with a narrow opening to the rest of the stomach. A port is then installed under the skin. By injecting or removing fluid, the band/balloon can be inflated or deflated, controlling the amount of food the stomach can hold.
  • Sleeve gastrectomy – In this approach, part of the stomach is separated and removed. The remaining section is formed into a tube-like structure; the smaller stomach cannot hold as much food. It also affects the production of hormones that produce hunger.

Why does bariatric surgery appear to be the preferred option over other weight loss options for those considered obese?

It appears to all come down to the success rates of changing old habits. Unfortunately, only slightly more than 5 percent of people are successful in changing their lifestyles on a long-term basis. Health experts claim that the overall risks associated with obesity which include heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and other life threatening conditions, outweigh the risks and complications of surgery.

Weight-loss surgery isn’t a magic bullet or an easy fix by any means, but research shows it may be the best answer for many people suffering from severe obesity and the deadly health conditions that often accompany it. If you’re considering bariatric surgery in the Las Vegas area, Dr. Tsuda and his expert team are ready to help you find the best treatment for your unique situation.

Doctor measuring obese man waist body fat. Obesity and weight loss.

When GERD is the Word – What to Consider when Diagnosed with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Many people experience acid reflux from time to time – that feeling commonly thought of as heartburn or acid indigestion. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is mild acid reflux that occurs at least twice a week, or moderate to severe acid reflux that occurs at least once a week. While most people can manage the discomfort of GERD with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications, some people with GERD may need stronger medications or surgery to ease symptoms.

Make an appointment with your doctor if you:

  • Experience severe or frequent GERD symptoms
  • Take over-the-counter medications for heartburn more than twice a week

When you swallow, a circular band of muscle around the bottom of your esophagus (lower esophageal sphincter) relaxes to allow food and liquid to flow into your stomach. Then the sphincter closes again.

If the sphincter relaxes abnormally or weakens, stomach acid can flow back up into your esophagus. This constant backwash of acid irritates the lining of your esophagus, often causing it to become inflamed.

Conditions that can increase your risk of GERD include:

  • Obesity
  • Bulging of the top of the stomach up into the diaphragm (hiatal hernia)
  • Pregnancy
  • Connective tissue disorders, such as scleroderma
  • Delayed stomach emptying

Factors that can aggravate acid reflux include:

  • Smoking
  • Eating large meals or eating late at night
  • Eating certain foods (triggers) such as fatty or fried foods
  • Drinking certain beverages, such as alcohol or coffee
  • Taking certain medications, such as aspirin

Your doctor is likely to recommend that you first try lifestyle modifications and over-the-counter medications. If you don’t experience relief within a few weeks, your doctor might recommend prescription medication or surgery.

The options include:

  • Antacids that neutralize stomach acid 
  • Medications to reduce acid production known as H-2-receptor blockers
  • Medications that block acid production and heal the esophagus known as proton pump inhibitors
  • Medication that helps strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter. 

GERD can usually be controlled with lifestyle changes and medication, but if these don’t help or you wish to avoid long-term medication use, consider the revolutionary LINX device. This device consists of a ring of tiny magnetic beads which is wrapped around the junction of the stomach and esophagus. The magnetic attraction between the beads is strong enough to keep the junction closed to refluxing acid but weak enough to allow food to pass through when swallowing. The LINX device can be implanted using minimally invasive surgery.

As the first LINX-trained surgeons in Las Vegas and as the first digestive institute in the area to offer the only FDA-approved treatment for GERD, Dr. Shawn Tsuda and Dr. Heidi Ryan at VIPSurg are ready to help you fight back against gastroesophageal reflux disease. Call  702-487-6000 to schedule an appointment. 

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5 Steps to Lead a Healthier Lifestyle

Do you think that you are living a healthy lifestyle? It’s easy to put off healthy living habits, but if you feel that you need to make improvements to your lifestyle for your health, you’re not alone. Although it’s hard to get out of old habits, a healthy lifestyle can give you more energy, improved mental health, and can increase your chances of defeating illnesses.

Here are five steps you can take to managing a healthier lifestyle:

1. Include fruits and vegetables in your diet

Adding fruits and vegetables is a perfect foundation for starting a healthy routine. Vegetables and fruits contain plentiful amounts of nutrients such as vitamins and antioxidants that help boost your immune system and fight off disease. Antioxidants help fight eye disease, promote healthy skin, and overall health. The World Health Organization recommends eating fruits and veggies as a regular part of your diet, so you’ll have a better chance of fighting some cancers, diseases, and heart disease. Make sure to eat five to nine servings of varied vegetables and fruits per day.

2. Drink water

You can save money and improve your health by drinking water throughout the day. This natural liquid offers the benefits of hydration, nourishment, and improved wellbeing. Water can cleanse toxins from the body, improve brain function, energize muscles, control weight gain, and balance body temperature and fluids. It’s recommended to drink about 8 glasses, or 64 ounces, of water per day.

3. Manage your mental health

When it comes to building a healthy lifestyle, it’s easy to concentrate on the physical aspects of health and ignore the mental upkeep. Remember that your mental health is a foundation of your overall health. It’s important to manage and asses your feelings on a day-to-day basis. If you feel negative towards others, you could cause more unhappiness at work, school, or in your social life. Some ways you can improve your mental health include:

  • Exercise
  • Socialize with loved ones
  • Join a club
  • Sleep 7-9 hours every night
  • Do something creative

If you continue to feel unhappy or even depressed, consult your physician or talk to a professional about ways you can improve your mental health.

4. De-stress

Sometimes it’s beneficial to stop, take a deep breath, and relax. You can help maintain your physical and mental health by decompressing from a long, stressful school or work week. Try some relaxing activities to help you relieve stress. Take advantage of meditation, listening to music, reading, watching a comedy, or exercising. These activities can help you unwind, and they cause feelings of happiness and clam.

5. Exercise

Exercise is a great way to stimulate your health, and studies show that physical activity photo-1527247737617-ca8e5f18e4f6helps improve longevity and overall health. Try to exercise up to three times a week. The American Heart Association advises for 150 minutes of exercise each week or an hour at least three times a week. Remember to keep your workouts fun. You should enjoy your workout and not feel like it’s a chore. Some fun physical activities include:

  • Dancing
  • Yoga
  • Aerobics
  • Running
  • Hiking

These lifestyle tips can help you maintain healthy and happier habits. Talk to your healthcare professionals about ways to improve your health. We are here for you at VIPSurg if you are interested in weight-loss/bariatric surgery in the Las Vegas area. Call (702) 487-6000 for all your general and bariatric surgery needs.