The primary goal of any overweight or obese invidiual who chooses to undergo bariatric surgery is to lose weight. Any medical weight loss procedures, such as gastric bypass surgery, serves as a catalyst to weight loss for people who have tried and been unable to achieve long-term weight loss through diet and exercise programs alone. One of the key gastric bypass surgery benefits is that the procedure reduces the stomach’s capacity, making it easier for patients to eat less. The smaller stomach created during weight loss surgery allows patients who undergo gastric bypass surgery feel fuller much sooner, thereby reducing overall caloric intake and resulting in sustained weight loss.
But weight loss surgery isn’t just about the weight. Making the decision to have gastric bypass surgery or any other bariatric procedure will result in drastic changes that are more than skin deep. Carrying around excess body weight affects every aspect of life, from overall health to sleep, social life and emotional well-being.
If you’ve been on the fence about weight loss surgery, here are a few ways weight loss surgery can change your life for the better.
Bariatric surgery is known to result in the improvement of or remission for type 2 diabetes, which can typically be difficult to control through diet and exercise alone. According to one recent study, many patients who have type 2 diabetes and undergo bariatric surgery are able to remain insulin free for at least three years after surgery.
Poor body image and depression are common among people who are overweight. These individuals often find it more difficult to engage in activities and hobbies they enjoy, which leads to isolation, anxiety, low confidence and even depression. By losing weight, gastric bypass surgery patients often experience an improvement in not only their physical, but also their emotional health and well-being.
Anyone who has tried to lose weight in the past knows the frustration of shedding extra pounds only to regain weight a short time later. Weight loss surgery is not a fad; it is one of the few proven means of helping patients who are significantly overweight or obese lose the weight and keep it off. Studies have shown that 10 years after weight loss surgery, many bariatric patients are able to maintain their weight loss if they commit to the lifestyle changes that should follow gastric bypass surgery or any other bariatric procedure.
Being overweight or obese can cause obstructive sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that disrupts sleep, causes snoring and can even lead to serious medical complications. Without intervention through bariatric surgery, people with sleep apnea may be prescribed a CPAP machine to use at bedtime to maintain oxygen levels during sleep. Following weight loss surgery, such as gastric bypass surgery, many patients who were once dependent on a CPAP machine are able to achieve a normal weight range, allowing them to sleep without the device.
Many bariatric patients suffer from co-existing health problems related to their weight, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, pregnancy complications, gallbladder disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Gastric bypass surgery can improve these and other conditions and reduce or eliminate a patients’ dependency on medication for weight related health problems. Female patients who are of childbearing age may even experience improved fertility.
There is certainly a social stigma that comes with being overweight or obese. For this reason, many people who are seriously overweight or obese are unable to enjoy an active social life. Gastric bypass surgery can help restore a patient’s confidence as they are able to regain a healthy social life. Not only do bariatric patients often find a renewed sense of confidence following surgery, they simply feel better and have more energy to participate in the activities they love.
Carrying around extra weight only increases stress on the joints and as a result, many people who are overweight (one in three, according to the Centers for Disease Control) suffer from joint problems like arthritis. The excess weight not only causes joint pain, it can result in joint damage over time, increasing an individual’s risk of falls and injury. For every pound of excess weight, joints in the body, such as the knees, are put under about four pounds of added pressure. Excess fat also leads to inflammation, which can increase joint discomfort and pain. By losing just 10 percent of their body weight, bariatric patients are able to reduce inflammation and increased pressure on their joints, reduce discomfort, improve mobility and stop using pain medications.
Experiences can vary from one weight loss surgery patient to the next, but we do know that the gastric bypass surgery benefits go far beyond just losing weight. As obesity continues to rise in America, so do the health and mental problems of those affected. Bariatric surgery is not a quick cure for obesity. And it is not the “easy way out,” but when paired with a healthy diet and regular fitness, it is a powerful and effective tool to help patients lose weight and keep it off for good.
If you are considering weight loss surgery, it is important to choose a bariatric surgeon who provides nutritional, fitness and psychological post-op support. Surrounding yourself with a strong support network is key to your long-term success. If you would like to know more about gastric bypass surgery or any other weight loss procedure, contact the weight loss doctors at First Baptist Medical Center today to schedule a consultation.