All About Bariatric Surgery to Fight Obesity
Obesity, as a medical condition, affects a staggering number of Indians. It refers to the excessive accumulation of fats or cholesterol in the body often leading to further complications such as heart diseases, strokes and even cancers.
How To Measure Obesity
Obesity is commonly identified through measurement of the Body Mass Index or BMI. The Body Mass Index is measured by dividing your weight in kilograms by square of your height in meters.
BMI = Kg / (Height in meters)2
A person with a BMI greater than 30 is considered obese; such an individual is at an enhanced risk of developing complications such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
A standard BMI Chart is as follows:
|18.5 – 24.9||Normal weight|
|25 – 29.9||Overweight|
Indians Found To Be Obese At a Lower BMI
According to a study published in the Lancet, India is the 3rd most obese country in the world. Indians are likely to suffer from health complications at lower BMIs compared to their western counterparts. According to Indian medical standards, a BMI of 25 or more classifies a person as obese.
Usually, a regulated diet and physical exercise can help alleviate obesity. But, it is quite possible for cases to exist where diet and exercise are difficult to follow; sometimes, they may not help at all in coping with obesity. In such cases, medications or surgery are needed.
A surgery undertaken to promote weight loss, and treat obesity, is called Bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgery is indicated when:
- an individual with diabetes reaches a BMI of 32.5 or more
- an individual without diabetes reaches a BMI of 37.5 or more
Prior to qualifying for any type of bariatric surgery, the person has to undergo a series of evaluations including psychological consultations to ensure they are well suited for the surgery.
Types of Bariatric Surgery
The three main types of bariatric surgeries are:
- Restrictive Bariatric surgery
- Malabsorptive Bariatric surgery
- Combination Bariatric surgery
Gastric sleeve surgery is the most common type of restrictive bariatric surgery. It involves the surgical removal of a section of the stomach, thereby decreasing the stomach’s size. A smaller stomach holds less food and one feels full with a less than usual amount of food in the stomach. Less food, in turn, results in lesser consumption of calories.
Gastric bypass surgery, also known as Roux-En-Y surgery, is the most common type of combination bariatric surgery. In this procedure, a small pouch is surgically introduced at the top of the stomach and then connected directly to the small intestine; this helps reduce the amount of food being consumed. As a result, accumulation of calories is reduced and weight loss is promoted.
Bariatric surgery, in general, can help a person lose 55 to 70 percent of weight. It is especially beneficial in patients who have uncontrolled diabetes with obesity despite medications and exercise. With the help of bariatric surgery, such patients can control their diabetes better and in some cases, avoid medications completely.
Things To Keep In Mind
A bariatric surgery does have certain long term side-effects; it hampers the body’s natural ability to absorb vitamins and minerals. After a bariatric surgery, a lifelong consumption of simple supplements such as B complex, Vitamin D, Calcium and Iron is recommended.
It is worth asserting here that a healthy diet and regular physical activity are key to checking obesity; they are always the first option when it comes to controlling weight gain. Only when a regulated diet and exercise regime fail to do the job, bariatric surgery should be considered.
It is imperative that we inculcate healthy habits in our children to help them keep obesity and related issues at bay while leading a happy, productive and fulfilling life.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information.