Weight Loss Surgery Information
Bariatric Surgery Reduces Health Risks and Dangers of Obesity

Risks and Dangers of Obesity Surgery

Diet Information - Bariatric Surgery - Gastric Bypass Procedure - Lap Band Stomach Banding
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Long Term Diet After Weight Loss Surgery - Questions About Gastric Bypass Diet

Assessing Benefits and Risks of Bariatric Surgery

Balancing Obesity Risks Against Surgery Risks
Bariatric operations are serious gastrointestinal procedures which involve all the typical health dangers and complications resulting from the trauma associated with serious medical surgery. However, the risks of weight loss surgery like gastric bypass or lap band, must be balanced against the well-documented health dangers of morbid (or malignant) obesity. This type of severe clinical obesity is itself a serious medical condition which, if left untreated, can prove fatal. Also, when assessing the risks and benefits of bariatric gastrointestinal surgery, it should be remembered that this surgery is ONLY considered for seriously obese patients who are UNABLE to lose weight using conventional treatments involving diet, exercise and behavioral counseling.

Levels of Obesity
According to current statistics, 61.3 million American adults (30.5 percent) are obese. As a result, approximately 300,000 Americans are predicted to die prematurely in 2004 from obesity-related diseases. This makes the condition nearly as dangerous as smoking cigarettes. Even worse, approximately 15 percent of children (ages 6–11) and 15 percent of teenagers were overweight in 2000 with an additional 15 percent at risk for overweight.

Life-Threatening Health Dangers of Obesity

Rates of Premature Death
Premature mortality rates for men who are 50 percent above average weight, are about twice the normal. Mortality was increased five fold for obese diabetics and four fold for obese patients with digestive tract disease. Premature mortality rates for women, are twice the average, while in obese women with diabetes the mortality risk is eight fold.

Cancer Mortality Rates for Morbidly Obese Patients
Cancer mortality rates are increased in morbidly obese males; e.g. colorectum (1.7 times), and prostate (1.3 times). Cancer mortality rates are increased in morbidly obese females; e.g. endometrium (5.4 times), gallbladder (3.6 times), uterine cervix (2.4 times), ovary (1.6 times), breast (1.5 times).

Additional Health Dangers of Being Morbidly Obese

  • Obesity is linked to diabetes. 80 percent of patients with type 2 diabetes are obese.
  • Obesity increases risk of gallbladder disease and gallstones.
  • Obesity is a major risk factor for heart disease. Almost 70 percent of diagnosed heart disease is obesity-related.
  • Being obese doubles the risk of elevated blood pressure (hypertension).
  • Obese patients are vulnerable to sleep apnea, breathing problems, musculoskeletal complaints and arthritis.
  • Obesity is one of the cluster of symptoms comprising insulin resistance syndrome (metabolic syndrome X).

Health Risks of Weight Loss Surgery

Bariatric gastric operations on severely obese patients cause death in approximately 1 percent of cases, and (it is believed) health complications in 10-30 percent of cases, although this may include patient-induced problems resulting from non-compliance with post-operative dietary guidelines.

Health Benefits of Weight Loss Surgery

  • Bariatric surgery improves longevity and reduces rates of premature death.
  • Bariatric surgery reduce high blood pressure (hypertension) in about 50 percent of patients. Cholesterol levels and other heart risk factors also typically improve.
  • It reduces risk of diabetes and insulin resistance.
  • It reduces sleep apnea in about 75 percent of patients.
  • It reduces shortness of breath (hypoventilation) in 75-80 percent of patients after gastric surgery.
  • It reduces the number and severity of asthma attacks.
  • It reduces back pain and arthritis along with heartburn, urinary incontinence, and venous problems of the leg.

Bariatric Surgery Alters Eating and Diet Habits For Life

Although gastrointestinal surgery helps obese patients to lose weight and reduce the risk of many diseases and weight-related risk factors, it does so at a price. Patients typically need to change their eating habits and remain on a special gastric-surgery diet for the remainder of their lives. This mandatory change in eating habits proves too difficult for many patients.

Note: Bariatric weight loss surgery, whether bypass or stomach banding, to reduce severe clinical obesity is a serious undertaking requiring detailed consultation with your doctor and bariatric surgeon.


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