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.

Stethalgia

Obesity’s Link to Breast Cancer

It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and as with many conditions and diseases, obesity can increase one’s risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 70% of American adults are overweight. Compared with people of normal weight, those who are overweight or obese are at greater risk for many diseases, including diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and many cancers. Most breast cancers occur after menopause. For women, being overweight or obese after menopause increases the risk of breast cancer. 

Having more fat tissue can increase your chance of getting breast cancer by raising estrogen levels. Also, women who are overweight tend to have higher levels of insulin, another hormone. Higher insulin levels have also been linked to some cancers, including breast cancer.

Before menopause, most estrogens in the body are produced in the ovaries. After menopause, the ovaries no longer produce much estrogen and estrogens mainly come from fat tissue. Fat tissue contains an enzyme called aromatase that converts hormones called androgens (made mostly in the adrenal glands) to estrogens. Therefore, heavier women have higher blood estrogen levels than leaner women.

Body shape may also affect breast cancer risk. Some findings show women who put on extra weight around their middle sections (sometimes called “apple-shaped”), as opposed to their hips and thighs (sometimes called “pear-shaped”), have a small to moderate increased risk of breast cancer.

And even though gaining weight can raise your cancer risk, it’s not clear whether losing weight reduces your risk. This has been difficult to study, mainly because very few people actually lose weight during adulthood, and those who do lose weight don’t usually keep it off over a long period of time. 

We do know that avoiding weight gain is helpful, whether you are overweight now or not. One large study found women who gained about 20 pounds after age 18 had a 15 percent higher risk of breast cancer compared to women who gained little or no weight. If you’re carrying extra pounds, losing as little as 5%-10% of your weight improves your overall health. 

Exercise can also lower breast cancer risk in addition to helping lose weight. Many studies have found that exercise is a breast-healthy habit. As little as 75 to 150 minutes of brisk walking each week has been shown to lower risk. Exercising more may lower your breast cancer risk even further.

Strong evidence for a relationship between weight loss and cancer risk comes from studies of people who have undergone bariatric surgery. Obese people who have bariatric surgery appear to have lower risks of obesity-related cancers than obese people who do not have bariatric surgery.

If you’re considering bariatric surgery, schedule a consultation here at VIPSurg. Our team of experts can help find the right treatment for you.

close up of hands and pink cancer awareness ribbon

Obesity is a Big Deal! A Look at the Complexity of this Serious Health Problem

Let’s face it, often those of us who are overweight or obese are judged quite harshly by society. People generally assume that obesity is strictly a matter of personal willpower, the product of bad choices about physical activity and diet. It is assumed that an overweight or obese person has little self-control. This kind of bias and thinking gets in the way of dealing with obesity as the serious health issue it is.

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 are so common get in the way, it makes it hard to improve the health of people living with obesity.

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

Because weight-based stereotypes and prejudices so often emerge from claims that obesity is caused and maintained by personal characteristics such as laziness or lack of willpower, there is a clear need for increased public awareness and education about the complex biology of obesity and the significant obstacles that exist 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 set of causes. It is a lifelong condition for most obese persons.

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, several 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 controlling 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. They can help find the right treatment for you.

Obese woman thinking

Eat Healthy/Live Healthy

One of the ways that weight loss surgery works is that after one has had a bariatric procedure, it takes less food to fill up and keep satisfied. As time goes on, though, it will take more food to make you feel full. This a normal part of the process. During the first two years after surgery, the capacity for food you can eat will go up from a few teaspoons to 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups of food. Whether you eat a little or a lot, eating healthy is the most important element.

A healthy eating plan gives your body the nutrients it needs every day while staying within your daily calorie goal for weight loss. A healthy eating plan:

  • Emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products
  • Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
  • Limits saturated and trans fats, sodium, and added sugars
  • Controls portion sizes

If you’re trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, finding the right kind of foods is essential. The goal should be to eat healthy foods that will fill you up for the longest amount of time.

Feeling hungry every 3 to 4 hours is normal. You’re supposed to feel hungry that often, and eating the right types of foods helps to keep blood sugar levels balanced.

Fruits and vegetables are filling. They are not only low-calorie, but also high in fiber. Foods such as carrots and hummus have fiber, flavor, and fat to keep you feeling full longer. They also help us absorb nutrients. Nuts like pistachios, almonds, pecans, and seeds all offer healthy fats as well as protein. Proteins can be a healthy snack choice as well as a meal option. Foods high in protein, such as lean chicken, ham or turkey will help satisfy hunger.

 If you are looking for ways to treat obesity in the Las Vegas area, schedule an appointment at VIP Surg. Their team of experts can help find the right treatment for you.

Selection of healthy food on rustic wooden background

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

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