Have you ever heard people say obesity is a “cosmetic issue” due to “over-eating” or “lack of self-control”? Well, here’s the truth: Obesity is a disease, a disease that needs a treatment.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recognises obesity as a chronic progressive disease resulting from multiple complex factors e.g. environmental, genetic, hormonal, metabolic, psychological, cultural and others.
Morbid obesity is a serious medical condition, where the excess body fat has accumulated to an extent that is has an adverse effect on health. It is associated with increased risk of comorbidities and mortality.
Obesity is a global problem and it is diagnosed by determining of the Body Mass Index (BMI: kg/m2), which is defined by the ratio of the individual’s height and weight. Severe obesity occurs at BMI of 35 and above. Here’s a table of BMI categories:
18.5 – 24.9
25 – 29.9
30 – 34.9
35 – 39.9
So what are the obesity-related comorbidities?
1) Type II diabetes
2) High blood pressure/heart disease
3) Joint pain and osteoarthritis of weight-bearing joints
4) Sleep apnea/shortness of breath/respiratory problems
5) Gastroesophageal reflux disease (hiatal hernia and heartburn)
8) Urinary stress incontinence
And what does bariatric surgery mean?
The word ‘bariatric’ simply means weight-loss. Bariatric medicine deals with the causes, prevention and treatment of obesity.
Bariatric surgery is performed on the stomach and/or intestines (gastrointestinal system) to help a person with morbid obesity to lose weight by causing restriction or malabsorption. It optimises the function of intestinal hormones, reducing hunger and increasing the feeling of fullness (satiety). It has beneficiary effects on fat metabolism and energy balance overall.
Weight loss surgery is safe and effective in reducing obesity related co-morbidities, helps to achieve long-term weight-loss and improves the quality of life.
How do I know if I’m eligible for bariatric surgery?
You are a good candidate if:
- If you have a BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2
- If you have a BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2 with at least one or more obesity-related co-morbidity such as type II diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea or other respiratory disorders, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, osteoarthritis, lipid abnormalities, gastrointestinal disorders or heart disease.
Eligibility is always based on individual surgical and multidisciplinary assessment with a holistic approach. That is why it is important to choose an experienced and specialised surgeon in bariatrics.
It is important to remember
Obesity is a multifactorial disease, which needs to be treated.
Bariatric surgery is considered to be one of the most effective and safest treatments to achieve substantial long-term weight loss.
This surgery results in metabolic balance and it provides resolution of obesity-related medical problems.
Overall, bariatric surgery improves quality of life and increases life expectancy.