Improving Your Health Through Weight Loss Surgery

Improving Your Health Through Weight Loss Surgery
Dr. James Parrish

The main reason to consider weight loss surgery is to improve your health.  Losing weight not only allows you to be more active and engage in life, it can also have a significant effect on the illnesses that go along with obesity.

Obesity increases the risk of diabetes by 400% and, in fact, 90% of all type II diabetics are obese.  Losing weight with surgery can cure diabetes up to 84% of the time and improve it around 93% of the time.  This, of course, significantly decreases the complications of diabetes such as heart disease, blindness and amputation.

Obesity is also the strongest predictor of hypertension (high blood pressure).  75% of hypertension linked to being overweight and losing weight through surgery can cure this disease completely in almost 70% of patients.  Almost 90% of patients will show improvement in their hypertension and be able to take less medicine.

It makes sense that weight loss surgery would have an effect on diseases such as high triglycerides and high cholesterol.  Post operatively, these conditions are improved well over 90% of the time.  Additionally levels of good cholesterol (HDL) go up and levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) go down.

Many obese patients suffer from sleep apnea.  This is a frequently under-diagnosed condition which can be suggested by loud snoring at night followed by a pause in breathing.  This causes the oxygen level in the blood to go down  and can lead to a host of other medical problems.  Patients are often very tired and fall asleep during the day despite getting a normal amount of sleep at night.  This condition can be diagnosed by a sleep study and can be cured by weight loss surgery up to 95% of the time.

There are many other medical problems associated with obesity such as heart disease, stroke, cirrhosis of the liver, arthritis, infertility, polycystic ovary syndrome, gallbladder disease, phlebitis, gout and depression.  Cancer can also be associated with obesity and it is estimated that 14% of all cancer deaths in older men and 20% in older women can be attributed to excess body fat.

It is not surprising that all of these illnesses can lead to a shorter life expectancy.  The goal of bariatric surgery is to help you to live a longer, healthier and more enjoyable life.   A landmark study in 2004 confirmed what it common sense: less excess weight leads to a longer life.  In this study obese patients were divided into a group that had weight loss surgery and a group that did not.  When the researchers looked at these patients five years later, they found that almost 90% fewer had died in the surgery group!  Put another way, the mortality rate in the group that had weight loss surgery was nine times lower than in the group that did not.

Weight loss surgery is not for everyone, but if you have tried for years to lose weight without long term success, and especially if you have medical problems linked to obesity, weight loss surgery may be an option to consider.

Dr. Parrish is available for consultations by appointment at Mid-Louisiana Surgical Specialists by calling (318) 442-6767.