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Benefits of Bariatric Surgery Beyond Weight Loss

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With the significant rise in excess weight in the United States and around the world, medications and surgeries to manage obesity have become ever more popular. And for good reason. The effects of excess weight are stunning and can take years off our lives, not to mention leading to a general decline in quality of life. While these interventions are aptly named for the weight loss they provide, many patients don’t think beyond the number on the scale and miss out on the exceptional benefits these medications and procedures can offer. So, let’s discuss some benefits other than weight loss from bariatric surgery and GLP-1 agonist weight loss medications that patients should keep top of mind, even if they aren’t the first thing people think of.

Quality of life

Unfortunately, obesity cuts the years off a person’s lifespan, yet many forget that quality of life matters too. As obesity affects ever younger populations in the United States and around the world, the amount of “enjoyable” life has decreased too. From having to take medication for chronic diseases to pain from joint dysfunction, obesity robs us of many of the things that we enjoy most.

Pain and Joint Dysfunction

Obesity is a factor in joint dysfunction because it puts a great deal of additional strain on the joints, especially those in the lower body, like the knees and ankles. In addition, the white fat associated with the excess abdominal fat tissue attacks the joints (even those that are not weight-bearing) chemically. This one-two punch can cause significant pain earlier in life that ultimately creates a vicious cycle of not being able to exercise and more pain followed by more weight gain. Unfortunately, these problems are affecting an ever-younger population as obesity is now regularly seen even in children and adolescents.

Obesity has also been proven to increase the risk or severity of many cancers. From colon to breast cancer, obesity is a serious concern. Regardless of whether cancer runs in the family or you are predisposed to developing any form of cancer, excess weight, and resultant inflammation significantly increase your risk. Speak to your oncologist about regular screenings, but don’t forget to incorporate healthy activity and diet into your cancer prevention plan.

Fatigue

Obesity and excess weight increase the risk of experiencing long-term, chronic fatigue by making day-to-day activities more difficult. Excess weight also creates a hormonal imbalance that can tire you and stop you from performing enjoyable and necessary activities. Most patients who lose a significant amount of weight report improvements in their symptoms of fatigue and, as such, a general improvement in their life and lifestyle.

Cognitive Concerns

You may think that weight loss as a dementia and Alzheimer’s prevention tool is far-fetched. However, many clinicians consider Alzheimer’s as Type-3 diabetes. This is because there is a profound correlation and similarity between the characteristics of Alzheimer’s and blood sugar levels. Reducing blood sugar levels through proper blood sugar management and losing weight can reduce the risk of cognitive impairment in the future and dramatically improve your life.

Hormonal Considerations

Obesity also causes significant hormonal fluctuations in both men and women. Men with obesity tend to have lower testosterone levels, which can affect mood, musculature, muscle building, and fatigue. Women with obesity tend to experience significant hormonal imbalances that can affect practically every part of their lives. In addition, women of child age may find that they are unable to conceive because of these hormonal imbalances.

Aesthetics

Lastly, we can’t ignore the aesthetic considerations many of us consider important. Most of our patients, having lost weight, appreciate the new and exciting social and career opportunities that come their way after significant weight loss. While there’s no justification for the stigma associated with excess weight, the fact is that it exists, and this, unfortunately, makes those with obesity have to deal with unnecessary emotional pain.

Ultimately, as you can see, the amount of weight loss is simply an excellent side effect associated with bariatric surgery and weight loss medication. The actual benefits run far deeper and affect virtually every part of a person’s life and lifestyle. Contact us to schedule a consultation with Dr. Higa to learn more about today’s surgical and non-surgical options available to anyone with obesity. You do not need to be suffering from obesity-related diseases to qualify for non-surgical, medical weight loss or bariatric surgery, so don’t hesitate to get advice on what to do next.