There is a saying that for every rose, there is a thorn; similarly, for every progress, the world has made, humanity has taken one step backwards by indulging in the wrong kind of lifestyle. With prosperity and food aplenty, there has been an increased surge in obesity. This refers to a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. It is a measure of the weight of the person in relation to their height. There are 3 categories of obesity, with the first one being a BMI of 30-35, the second one being 35-40 and the third one being 40 or more. The second and third categories refer to severe obesity that’s hard to treat with diet and exercise alone.
The last two categories can be candidates for weight–loss or bariatric surgery, which refers to operations that help you lose weight as well as make changes to the digestive tract. They can be lifesaving for people with serious health problems associated with obesity, like uncontrolled diabetes or sleep apnea, and can help them lose 30-50% of their extra weight over 6 months. Opting for these types of surgeries is a major decision that will affect you life-long due to the drastic changes made to the digestive tract that prevents you from eating normally.
Since there are some risks involved, you need to have a thorough discussion with your doctor on the various options available. Some bariatric surgeries make your stomach smaller so you can’t eat much while others can make changes to the small intestines so that you absorb fewer calories. The surgery doesn’t replace healthy habits but is an aid for you to consume fewer calories. By choosing healthy foods and a physically active lifestyle for the rest of your life, you can be successful in losing weight and keeping it off.
However, there are still many misconceptions and myths surrounding bariatric surgery;
here are a few of them:
Bariatric surgery is an emotional experience – This is why psychological counselling and nutritional support is given beforehand.
Surgery can cure newly diagnosed diabetes – Surgery can only prevent you from needing insulin shots.
More health benefits than just weight loss – Bariatric surgery improves sleep apnea, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, joint pains, etc.
Surgery counteracts the metabolic changes – After surgery, you feel full after just a small meal.
The recovery period is surprisingly short – It will take 2 weeks for you to return back to a desk job and a month to return to other types of jobs after bariatric surgery.
For a couple of months after surgery, eating is work – It takes a little while for the internal swellings to recede and eating to become an enjoyable experience.
Unlikely to get a big scar – The common procedures employ 3-5 small incisions that are about ½ to 1 inch in length.
The surgery isn’t risky – The risks of a bariatric surgery are less than the health risks of obesity itself.
Minimise liquids during meals – This creates space for solid food and reduces discomfort, as there is a space constraint.
Bariatric surgery is a journey, not the destination – People usually lose half their extra weight before surgery and the remaining within the year.
Success rates are about 85% after 5 years of surgery – Though bariatric surgery has helped millions lose weight and maintain it, there are always a few cases that couldn’t succeed in keeping it off.