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.

Advertisements

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

Life After Bariatric Surgery

For many who think weight-loss surgery may be the only way to be healthy and live longer, the fear of how life might be after the procedure keeps them from taking life-saving measures. Be informed so that you can make educated decisions about your health. These facts can help you on the way to knowing what’s best for you and give you a glimpse into what one can usually expect after surgery.

Your recovery will depend on which procedure you choose (gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, lap-band, and duodenal switch surgery). For example:

  • Average Hospital Stay: Ranges from outpatient (return home same-day) to 2-3 days
  • Average Time Until Back to Work: Ranges from 3 days to 2 weeks
  • Average Time to Full Recovery: Ranges from 3 days to 6 weeks
  • Pain: Ranges from mild discomfort to manageable with pain medication
  • Diet: Ranges from a few limited foods to a strict and slow transition from clear liquids to solid foods
  • Back-to-Normal Activity: Ranges from 3 days to 4-6 weeks

Life after weight loss surgery includes (depending on your chosen procedure):

  • Full recovery in 1 to 6 weeks
  • Excess weight loss between 25% and 90+%
  • Many obesity-related health problems cured or improved
  • Significant diet and exercise changes
  • Good and bad changes in how friends, family, and strangers treat you
  • Challenges such as sagging skin, digestion issues, and weight regain

Improvements to your physical health can be as impressive as your rapid weight loss family-eating-at-the-table-619142_1920after bariatric surgery. Conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, GERD, and other issues related to metabolic syndrome have been shown to get better or completely go away following gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, lap-band, and duodenal switch surgery.

It is important to emphasize making healthy food and lifestyle choices even before weight-loss surgical procedures. Bariatric surgery is a tool. Use it to make changes for a long, healthy, productive, and happy life.

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are considering bariatric surgery, schedule an appointment at VIPSurg. Our team can help find the perfect treatment for you!

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.

da-vinci-robot-handout_wide-65a56675b7c19da729a83a3378bdd071d7d5cfc6-s1500-c85

 

What is Metabolic Syndrome

Nearly 35% of all U.S. adults and an astounding 50% of those 60 years of age or older are estimated to have a syndrome that makes them twice as likely to develop heart disease and 5 times as likely to develop diabetes as someone who doesn’t have this syndrome. The disorder is called metabolic syndrome, and it involves a group of 5 risk factors that increase the risks of developing several potentially deadly conditions.

What is metabolic syndrome?

It’s a group of risk factors that increases the likelihood of developing heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. The 5 risk factors are:

  • increased blood pressure
  • high blood sugar levels
  • excess fat around the waist
  • high triglyceride levels
  • low levels of good cholesterol, or HDL

Having one of these risk factors alone doesn’t mean one has metabolic syndrome. However, having just one does increase the chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Having three or more of these factors is considered as having metabolic syndrome.

What are the risk factors for metabolic syndrome?

The risk factors are related mostly to obesity. The two most important risk factors are defined by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute as:

  • excess fat around the middle and upper parts of the body
  • insulin resistance, which makes it difficult for the body to use sugar

Other factors that can increase risk for metabolic syndrome include:

  • age
  • family history of metabolic syndrome
  • not getting enough exercise
  • women with polycystic ovary syndrome

What are the complications of metabolic syndrome?

Complications that can result from metabolic syndrome are often grave and chronic. Obesity concept in x-rayThey include:

  • hardening of the arteries
  • diabetes
  • heart attack
  • kidney disease
  • stroke
  • nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • peripheral artery disease
  • cardiovascular disease

If diabetes develops, additional health complications may result including:

  • eye damage
  • nerve damage
  • kidney disease
  • amputation of limbs

How is metabolic syndrome treated?

If you are diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, your doctor will probably recommend lifestyle changes that may include losing between 7-10% of your current weight and getting at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise five to seven days a week. They may also suggest that you quit smoking.

Your doctor may prescribe medications to help reduce your risk of stroke and heart attack.

What is the outlook for patients with metabolic syndrome?

People who take their doctor’s advice and lose weight will reduce their chances of developing serious health problems such as heart attack or stroke. However, for many who are obese and haven’t been successful with diet changes and exercising, more intensive treatment like bariatric surgery might be needed.

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are considering bariatric surgery, schedule a consultation at VIPSurg. Our doctors and team of experts can help find the right treatment for you.

 

Bariatric Surgery: Impacting High Blood Pressure Through More Than Weight Loss

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about one in three U.S. adults has high blood pressure (hypertension). Risks include family history, advancing age, poor diet, consuming excessive amounts of alcohol, and being overweight or obese.

Lifestyle changes are a big part of controlling high blood pressure. The main tenets include:

  • Following a healthy diet, which may include reducing salt. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is often recommended. In addition to lowering salt intake, DASH is replete with fruits, vegetables, and low-fat or nonfat dairy. The diet emphasizes whole grains and is rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium and fiber.
  • Exercising regularly.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Keeping stress levels at bay. (Stress can cause us to engage in unhealthy blood pressure-raising behaviors.)
  • Drinking only moderate amounts of alcohol.
  • Taking your medications as prescribed.

There are many types of prescription medications that can help control blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. These medications may need to be taken for life to maintain their effect.

New research is showing, however, that bariatric surgery can allow obese people taking a lot of antihypertensive medications to cut way back on them. Study subjects’ blood pressure was maintained in the normal range with only one agent or even without drugs.

Within a year, those in a recent trial who had bariatric surgery were more than six times as likely to have cut back on their number of blood pressure (BP) medications by hypertension-867855__340about a third. Half of the surgical patients didn’t need any antihypertensive meds to maintain their BP at healthy levels. On the other hand, all of the “standard-care” patients in the study needed antihypertensive medications to keep BP that low, and half of them needed at least three different ones.

Interestingly, most patients in the gastric-bypass group achieved the primary end point in the first month of the postop period. That seems to indicate that something more is happening beyond just weight loss.

That something is likely to be related, at least in part, to the metabolic changes in the surgery group compared with the control group, which included significant improvements in fasting plasma glucose, HbA1c, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein in addition to the lowering of blood pressure.

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are wondering if bariatric surgery might be right for you, schedule an appointment at VIP Surg. Dr. Tsuda and his team can help find the right treatment for your unique situation.