Smoking and Bariatric Surgery

Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of tobacco use among bariatric surgery candidates is similar to, if not greater than, the general population. However, tobacco use is a well-documented surgical risk factor.

Substantial research has examined the impact of tobacco use on bariatric surgery in particular. For instance, while the mortality risk associated with bariatric surgery is generally low (less than 1%), death is twice as likely for active tobacco users.

A history of and/or active smoking has also been shown to increase the risk of developing postoperative complications among bariatric surgery patients. Patients who smoked within one year of having bariatric surgery, compared to their nonsmoking counterparts, were 1.5 times more likely to develop any surgery-related problem within one month of having surgery.

Smoking can potentially disrupt breathing capacity and lung function in patients. Research reveals an association between tobacco use and respiratory complications following bariatric surgery. Patients who smoked cigarettes within one year of having bariatric surgery were at increased risk for developing pneumonia.

Smoking, defined as smoking one or more cigarettes per day, was shown to increase the likelihood of developing marginal ulcers and wound rupture postoperatively. A history of or active tobacco use was also shown to predict not only the development but also recurrence of marginal ulcers up to 12 months after bariatric surgery. In addition, slower rates of wound healing and infection have been noted more generally among surgery candidates who use tobacco. With higher complication rates during and after surgery, the potential for prolonged hospitalization also increases. Preliminary research suggests patients who smoke within a month of surgery may also require higher dosing of opioid medication for postoperative pain management.

In the face of these and other potential risks, many bariatric surgery-related guidelines exist for addressing tobacco use. The latest evidence-based bariatric surgery guidelines recommend advising tobacco users to quit tobacco at least six weeks prior to bariatric surgery, as well as, provide tobacco users with the necessary support for maintaining long-term abstinence.

If you are considering bariatric surgery, contact VIPSurg for a consultation. If you are a smoker, he can get you the help and support you need to quit so that you can have surgery and become a healthier you!

Quitting smoking concept. Hand is refusing cigarette offer.

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

Obesity’s Link to COPD

According to estimates, 6% of American adults have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and 35% of those COPD patients are considered obese. In addition to being common among COPD patients, studies have also suggested that obesity leads to a higher risk of acute exacerbations, indicating that obesity may be a risk factor. 

Now a U.S. study suggests that obese people with COPD who get weight loss surgery may go to the hospital less often with acute breathing problems after their operations. The study found that among obese adults with COPD, those who had bariatric surgery to lose weight, needed to go to the emergency room or have inpatient care half as often as before surgery.

The researchers examined data on 481 obese adults aged 40 to 65 who had COPD and underwent bariatric surgery in California, Florida, and Nebraska. They followed patients from 2005 through 2011 to see how hospital and emergency room visits for COPD in the two years before weight loss surgery compared to the two years afterwards.

At the start of the study, when patients were 13 to 24 months away from getting their operations, 28% of them had an emergency department (ED) or hospital visit for acute COPD symptoms. During the second year of the study, the 12 months right before surgery, these rates didn’t change much, but compared with that first year of the study, the chances of an ED or hospital visit dropped by 65% in the first year after bariatric surgery. 

Just 12% of patients had a COPD visit during that time. During the last year of the study, 13 to 24 months after surgery, the odds of an ED or hospital visit were 61% lower than in the first year of the study. These findings suggest that benefits of bariatric surgery may extend beyond remission of chronic health problems associated with obesity to include COPD and other respiratory conditions.

If you are considering bariatric surgery, schedule a consultation at VIP SURG. Their expert team can help you find the right treatment for your unique situation.

Elderlay woman with oxygen suplement (COPD)

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