Bariatric Surgery: Can it help you?


It is obvious to even the most casual observer that we have a serious problem with obesity in our society. An individual who has a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more is considered obese. BMI is computed by use of both height and weight measures. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) a person who is 5 foot 2 inches tall is considered obese at 164 pounds or over. To determine your own BMI and obesity status go to According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, more than 33 percent of adults are obese and 5 percent of adults are extremely obese. Obesity is an important health issue as it and according to the CDC can, among other things, lead to: • High blood pressure • Increased risk of diabetes • Coronary heart disease • Sleep apnea Many people are unhappy with being obese and make attempts to bring their weight under control. The problem, of course, is that losing weight and keeping it off is very challenging. Bariatric surgery is an option many are choosing to cope with their obesity. According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) 196,000 bariatric surgeries were completed in 2015 in the United States. According to the ASMBS website the Sleeve Gastrectomy procedure removes 80 percent of the stomach. A tubular pouch is made out of the remaining stomach tissue. The procedure has an impact on the amount of food that can be consumed because the newly formed pouch holds considerably less food. The surgery also has an impact on gut hormones that have a positive impact on the patient’s hunger, feeling of being fed and blood sugar. In the Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass a small part of the stomach is made into an egg-sized pouch. This smaller stomach is connected directly to the middle portion of the small intestine bypassing the rest of the stomach and the upper portion of the small intestine. As well as the outcomes mentioned in the Sleeve procedure, this procedure also causes a section of the small intestine to be bypassed, resulting in less absorption of calories in this procedure. Brenda Bal, a Certified Bariatric Nurse with Mercy Health Weight Management Solutions, at 3930 Sunforest Court, in Toledo, informed me that in order to qualify for this type of surgery an individual would need to have a BMI of 40. If an individual also had conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes a BMI of 35 would be sufficient to qualify. Bal also indicated that the benefits of bariatric surgery may include improved quality of life, decrease in need for medications, improved body image and improved confidence levels. The ASMBS website also indicates that the surgery has a significant likelihood of resolving or improving type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obstructive sleep apnea and high cholesterol. According to Bal, the preparation time to get ready for surgery averages about six months. Some things to expect are being asked to eliminate carbonation, eat slowly, work to improve hydration, be mindful of the amount of protein in your meal plan and to take a multivitamin and calcium for life. In a 2016 article in Obesity News Today it was stated that gastric bypass surgery leads to 65 percent of excess weight being lost after two years while sleeve gastrectomy resulted in 56 percent of excess weight loss after two years. According to the Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery at Columbia University the risk of death for gastric bypass surgery is one half of one percent while complications including bleeding occur in less than 2 percent of patients.


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