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Millions of Americans qualify for bariatric surgery, and many have researched surgical options for weight loss. However, while bariatric surgery is the single most effective long-term solution for patients suffering from obesity, only a tiny fraction of qualifying patients ultimately have the surgery. It’s hard to separate metabolic surgery from the idea that it is elective, despite excess weight causing so many significant medical conditions. This perception is partly because many of the comorbidities associated with morbid obesity, like type-2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, do not produce symptoms until they become severe. Even with standard screening procedures, many patients do not adequately control their comorbidities for any number of reasons.
If you have finally decided bariatric surgery is an option, congratulations! Not only have you taken a massive step toward renewed health, but you’ve also decided to be vulnerable. And, to be honest, that really takes guts.
Hormonal factors play a significant role in the everyday workings of our bodies. Hormonal balances are very precise, and issues such as age, health conditions, medications, and even obesity can create imbalances that lead to minor or significant health issues. While many hormonal issues have a modifiable root cause (one that can be fixed with lifestyle changes), some of these issues are precipitated by something none of us can escape – the aging process. This is particularly true of the female sex hormone known as estrogen, and the male sex hormone, testosterone.
With a continued rise in obesity in the United States over the past few decades, guidelines for bariatric surgery have been slow to be updated. There’s a good reason for this. As you may know, studies are often revised, retracted, and contradicted. Some foods we thought were good for us were later deemed harmful and are now good again. Think shellfish and egg yolks. According to studies in the past couple of decades, coffee was alternately an antioxidant and a cancer-forming substance. As such, when major societies like the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and international groups like IFSO – International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders – put their names to new guidelines, it’s a big deal. This is precisely what happened last month. These 2022 bariatric surgery guidelines have finally been released as guidance to update 1991 requirements from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that were getting long in the tooth.
Gluten is a group of proteins stored with starch in the endosperm of various cereal grains. Even though “gluten” is a protein specific to wheat proteins, the term “gluten” is generally used in medicine to refer to the prolamin and glutelin proteins present in all grains shown to influence celiac disease. These grains include all wheat, barley, rye, and certain oats. Some people refer to the proteins found in corn and rice as “gluten,” but these proteins do not act as a trigger in celiac disease.
You’ve heard it before. Bariatric surgery is just a tool. But it also requires serious psychological changes that aren’t always easy to process. Like any other life-changing decision, you must think about your mindset and intentions before having bariatric surgery. You need to be prepared mentally. And to prepare yourself, you must consider a few things:
You’ve done it. You made a monumental decision and took the first giant step in changing your life. You’ve turned it upside down. You just had weight loss surgery, and now, you must keep walking the path. It’s simple enough to say, but of course, harder to do…physical activity. Walking. Swimming. Lifting weights. Hitting the gym.
A concept you’ve heard a lot by now is that weight loss surgery is just a “tool.” It will be instrumental in helping you lose weight and transition into a healthier lifestyle, but it’s just one part of the equation.
The weight loss process is a lifelong fight against the chronic disease of obesity. It is a fight you must take on every day yet it’s easy to go off-track. As such, you need to give yourself the best odds to overcome your weight, minimize the risks of relapse into old habits, and give yourself the tools to fight each day. We discuss a lot about diet and exercise advice to stay on track, and there’s a good reason for this. Making these simple changes can be the difference between good and great results.
However, we want to see these habits become second nature so that you don’t even think about putting yourself in a situation that may compromise your weight loss progress. With that said, several small lifestyle changes, some seemingly unrelated to bariatric surgery, can make a big difference in your long-term success. Let’s discuss them and find out why ignoring them increases the risk of going backward.
One of the best things someone can do before bariatric surgery is to prepare themselves as much as possible. This can be done by talking with your healthcare provider, attending educational classes, talking to someone else who has been through the same experience, and researching. Here are four things we wish patients knew before having bariatric surgery.
Many women (by some estimates, 40-50%) in the United States have dense breast tissue to some degree. This means that a more significant portion of the breast comprises glands and fibrous tissue rather than adipose or fatty tissue. This dense breast tissue, while very typical, does also have significant challenges when detecting masses on screening imaging.
Dense breast tissue can often hide lumps or irregularities normally seen on screening (mammograms). As a result of the similar density of the breast and the lump, a screening mammogram may offer relatively little contrast.
With about 25% of men likely to develop an inguinal hernia over their lifetimes and 1 million or more hernia operations performed every year, you can imagine no matter how low the recurrence rate, a fair number of people will require a second hernia operation to address what is known as a recurrence. Recurrence is certainly not a guarantee, and with proper care and surgical choices, most patients will never experience a recurrence.