Ten Benefits of Weight Loss Surgery

August 22, 2017
InformationWeight Loss Options

People spend months—sometimes years—contemplating whether to pursue weight loss surgery. Friends and family can be less than supportive, their motives ranging from resistance to change to fear of the unknown. Misinformation, hearsay and stigma cloud choices further. The truth is, the benefits of bariatric surgery make continuing on in obesity a non-option. Here are the facts.

Assessing the Benefits

1.  Weight Loss. Many individuals don’t realize what a cascade of benefits the actual loss of weight leads to—benefits that just couldn’t be accessed through exercise and diet alone. With a smaller stomach or stomach pouch, you can achieve a sense of fullness and satisfaction on just a small amount of food. The truly interesting thing about weight loss is that losing weight makes losing more weight easier, and surgical options offer a greater chance at making that loss permanent. More than 90 percent of obese patients are able to maintain the loss of at least half their excess weight over the long term—statistics far exceeding those of diet and exercise alone.

2.  Mobility. Every pound dropped increases in mobility. Each reduction lightens the load that circulatory, respiratory, skeletal and other body systems must bear. As body loads lighten, each system can perform its designated functions more easily, making more mobility or exercise possible. Previously burdened systems are no longer constantly tired or the source of debilitating aches and pains. More frequent pain-free movement burns more calories, burns more fat, helps build stamina and strength, and releases mood-boosting endorphins.

3.  Diabetes Resolution. More than 29 million people in the United States suffer from type 2, adult onset diabetes while another third of the population—86 million—are prediabetic. Meanwhile, associated complications like blindness, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and amputation increase risk of death by 50 percent. Weight loss surgery, however, typically results in drastic improvement in controlling blood glucose levels, in many cases helping patients reverse their diabetes.

4.  Cardiovascular Health. Weight loss that results from bariatric surgery is known for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. In turn, risks for heart disease, heart attack and stroke likewise decrease. A benefit often overlooked is the reduction in risk for atherosclerosis and peripheral artery disease—key factors in loss of mobility, nonhealing ulcers and amputation.

5.  Sleep Health. Sleep apnea and other sleep issues often accompany obesity. Individuals suffering from sleep apnea stop and restart breathing often hundreds of times in a night. The episodes not only disturb and sometimes terrify family but also leave the sleeper constantly exhausted, with a heightened risk for heart disease and diabetes. Bariatric surgery, however, provides relief to at least 75 percent of all patients, with gastric bypass and gastric sleeve the most effective.

6.  Fertility and Pregnancy. For both women and men, excessive fat levels change a body’s hormonal balance. In men, it can reduce testosterone levels and cause erectile dysfunction. In women, it can disrupt menstrual cycles, cause polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), increase the risk for miscarriages, and result in birth defects affecting the heart and neural tube. However, bariatric surgery and its associated weight loss typically resolve these hormonal imbalances, allowing formerly obese women to successfully give birth to healthy infants.

7.  Stress Urinary Incontinence. Physical weight and weak pelvic muscles leave many obese women with urinary incontinence. The bladder’s valve weakens, leading to leaks from coughing, sneezing or even laughing. With less weight on the bladder and better hormonal balance, however, the condition often improves. With just a 50-pound weight loss, more than 80 percent of patients realized improvement or complete resolution of their urinary incontinence.

8.  Acid Reflux. Also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), the backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus often results from excess belly fat putting pressure on the stomach; a hiatal hernia is also often present. GERD can cause erosive esophagitis; Barrett’s esophagus, where intestinal cells line the esophagus; and esophageal cancer. Gastric bypass in particular has been shown to help in resolving GERD, with nearly 90 percent of those patients reporting relief of heartburn discomfort.

9.  Knee Osteoarthritis. Just 10 extra pounds exerts a minimum of 30 extra pounds of force per step on knees, tripling body weight loads on the knee joint. Cartilage breaks down, leaving cracking and grinding sensations most often in knees, hips and spine. Individuals with body mass indexes over 30 were 20 times more likely to develop the degenerative condition. Bariatric surgery, however, has been shown to significantly improve levels of knee and hip pain and, in turn, ability to function.

10.  Quality of Life. Researchers compared patients’ quality of life pre and post-surgery. They compared eight areas: body functions, mobility, bodily pain, general health, vitality, social engagement, emotional health and mental health. What they found was that bariatric surgery significantly improved all aspects of quality of life, with drastic effects measurable within the first 2 years and positive effects easily lasting 10 years or more.

Choosing To Change

Another of the benefits of bariatric surgery is that it offers a number of options. The surgeons at Acadiana Weight Loss Surgery perform all five procedures laparoscopically because we want you to have access to the best option—and outcome—for you. For more information on how to improve your health and quality of life, call us at 337-233-9900, or visit our website today. Don’t let a better life pass you by.