Millions of Americans struggle with maintaining a healthy weight. Even if you follow a balanced diet and exercise program, you may still find it hard to lose or keep off the weight. There is another tool available — weight-loss surgery.
Weight-loss surgery can be a good option for people who fall within a certain body mass index range and have an obesity-related condition, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Your doctor can determine if you are a good candidate.
Common types of weight-loss surgery are Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy and LAP-BAND®. All three procedures involve shrinking down the size of the stomach to minimize the amount of food ingested. The bypass and sleeve procedures also lead to decreased hunger due to hormone changes. Depending on the surgery, a person can lose 50 to 70 percent of their excess weight.
Although losing weight is a major physical benefit to weight-loss surgery, there are many other benefits to a person's overall health and well-being.
Elimination of obstructive sleep apnea
There is a direct correlation between obesity and obstructive sleep apnea, a sleep disorder in which the back of a person's throat collapses, obstructing the airways and causing a person to gasp and snore loudly in their sleep. Untreated sleep apnea may lead to a reduction in life expectancy by 20 years, due to abnormal heart rhythms during sleep and more. Weight-loss surgery leads to greatly improved quality of sleep.
Return of fertility in women — and men
Fat produces an increased level of estrogen in women and men. In women, an increased level of estrogen may disrupt the ovulation cycle. In men, an excess of estrogen may reduce the amount of testosterone needed to produce sperm.
Improvement of Type 2 diabetes
Even before a person loses weight, blood sugar levels may begin to improve immediately following weight-loss surgery. "Diabetes can resolve for about 90 percent of patients, particularly those who have been on oral medications," says Cheryl Holsworth, RN, MSA, senior nursing specialist and program coordinator at Sharp Memorial Hospital. "Patients often don't have to resume these medications after gastric bypass surgery. The sleeve gastrectomy procedure also has impressive results for putting diabetes in remission once patients lose weight."
Cancer risk reduced
Your risk for colon, breast, endometrial, gallbladder, kidney and thyroid cancers increases when you are obese. One in four newly diagnosed cancers can be linked to obesity, according to the American Association for Cancer Research.
Improved quality of life
Weight-loss surgery can eliminate or reduce the risk of many obesity-related conditions, such as osteoarthritis, high cholesterol and blood pressure.
To learn more about weight-loss surgery, visit Weight-Loss Surgery at Sharp Memorial Hospital.