Norman Regional Health System

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

By Azure Adkins, MD, a fellowship trained bariatric and minimally invasive GI surgeon with Journey Clinic.

The topics this post will cover are:

  1. Health Conditions Associated With Obesity
  2. What Are the Benefits of Bariatric Surgery?
  3. Long-Term Weight Loss Tips for Bariatric Surgery (how to achieve and maintain weight loss after Bariatric Surgery)
  4. How Bariatric Surgery Can Improve Your Health

Patients with obesity have often been discriminated against for years, especially by the healthcare system. Not every health problem is related to weight, so it is important that patients are evaluated as a whole person, not just by what they look like. Patients with obesity should know that obesity is not a matter of lack of willpower or their “fault”. There are hormonal and genetic reasons that many patients struggle with losing weight and maintaining that weight loss. Our job as physicians and surgeons is to support patients on their path towards living longer, healthier lives. We do know that carrying extra weight does contribute to multiple health conditions. Losing weight doesn’t guarantee these will all be completely resolved, but generally sustained weight loss will often improve medical problems and help patients require less medications. Weight loss can also prevent many chronic diseases from happening or worsening over time.

Health Conditions Associated With Obesity

Some health conditions that are associated with obesity include:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Sleep apnea
  • Depression/anxiety
  • Fatty liver (NASH or NAFLD)
  • Asthma
  • Stress incontinence
  • Migraines
  • Pseudotumor cerebri
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Infertility
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Gout
  • GERD (acid reflux)
  • Osteoarthritis (joint pain)
  • Venous stasis

Obesity also increases the risk of certain cancers including: including esophagus, breast, colorectal, endometrial, gallbladder, stomach, kidney, ovary, pancreas, liver, thyroid, multiple myeloma, and meningioma [Li 2021; Lauby-Secretan 2016; Schauer 2019; Esposito 2012; Economides 2021; Shi 2021].

What Are the Benefits of Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric surgery has been shown in multiple randomized-controlled trials (RCTs) to show not just long-term durable weight loss but also long-term improvement or resolution of many of these health issues, especially cardiovascular (heart and lung) complications, type 2 diabetes and cancer risks. Compared to medical treatment (diet, exercise and medications); bariatric surgery has better results for improving or resolving health problems that are related to having obesity.

The risks of complications from bariatric surgery still exist, but they are extremely low. Risks of surgery for each individual patient can be calculated and will be reviewed before surgery. Surgery is usually performed laparoscopically or robotically with small incisions and patients are often able to go home within 24 hours.

Long Term Weight Loss Tips for Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric Surgery is not the “easy way out”. It is hard work and requires investment in long-term lifestyle changes for patients to achieve long-lasting success. Avoiding processed foods, focusing on healthy eating (mostly plants), and having an exercise regimen are all important parts of the process both before and after surgery to maximize the benefits of surgery. It is also important that bariatric surgery patients continue regular follow up with their surgeon and doctor so that any bumps in the road can be addressed quickly. Gaining weight back after surgery can happen, but can be limited if patients seek help and continue regular visits.

How Bariatric Surgery Can Improve Your Health

Living a long, healthy life enjoying time doing the things we love with the people we love is the ultimate goal. For patients with obesity, their weight and health issues can stand in the way of achieving that goal. Bariatric surgery can be an option for patients to achieve their healthiness and weight loss goals and help them live the life they want.

Bariatric Surgery Near You

If you are interested in learning more about bariatric surgery or exploring what options are available to you, our team of bariatric surgeons, Azure Adkins, MD, M. Azam Farukhi, MD, and Lana Nelson, DO are taking new patients and ready to help you get started on your path to reaching your health goals.