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Bariatric Surgery and Diabetes

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Obesity related Health Issues

The primary concern of being overweight or obese is one of health and not just appearance.

Obesity has a direct relationship to the development of many conditions and symptoms. This is due to the increased distribution of body fat. For example, you are 3 times as likely to suffer from hypertension if you are obese compared to those whose weight falls within the normal range. If you are 40% or more overweight, you are twice as likely to die prematurely than somebody who is within a healthy weight range. Research has shown that some people who are morbidly obese reduce their lifespan by as much as 10-12 years.

This is because obesity is known to be linked with the following health issues:

  • Cardiovascular disease, to include heart attacks and strokes
  • Hypertension; high blood pressure
  • Diabetes, Type 2
  • Joint and back disorders
  • Gallbladder disease, gallstones
  • Some cancers ( endometrial, breast and colon)
  • Depression
  • Lack of self-esteem and confidence
  • High cholesterol
  • Impaired respiratory function
  • Deep vein thrombosis, venous insufficiency
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Liver disease
  • Urinary stress incontinence
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome, numbness, tingling in hands and fingers
  • Infertility
  • Low back pain
  • Pancreatitis
  • Obstetric and gynaecological problems
  • Wound infections that will not heal
  • Gout
  • Impaired immune response

The above list mentions the main factors related to obesity; there are many more that could be added.

Heart Disease Heart Disease One of the most serious risks is the effect that obesity has on the heart. It is a known fact that 70% of cardiovascular disease today is related to obesity.

The extra workload that is put on the heart, whereby it has to work extra hard to pump blood further around the body, has significant, detrimental repercussions. The heart beats faster in order to obtain more oxygen and results in shortness of breath and exhaustion.

Obesity can and often does cause heart failure because the obese person's heart is overworked. An obese person can experience heart failure through a heart attack, which is when the heart muscle dies due to not being supplied with oxygen because blood flow is blocked through a fat-clogged blood vessel. An obese person can also experience heart failure through cardiac arrest, which is when the heart stops beating due to a sudden loss of function (likely caused by being overworked).

What is Hypertension?
What is Hypertension? Hypertension (high blood pressure) refers to the pressure that blood applies to the inner walls of the arteries.

Physicians use the following classifications:
  • Normal blood pressure: systolic (top number) equal to or less than 120 mmHg and diastolic (lower number) equal to or less than 80 mmHg
  • Pre-hypertension: systolic 120-139 mmHg or diastolic 80-89 mmHg
  • Hypertension:
    Stage 1: systolic 140-159 mmHg or diastolic 90-99 mmHg
    Stage 2: systolic greater than or equal to 160 mmHg or diastolic greater than or equal 100 mmHg

    The simple fact is that when your weight increases, so does your blood pressure.

Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease marked by high levels of sugar in their blood. Normally, the body breaks down food into glucose which is then utilized by the body as energy. The body uses a hormone called insulin to do this and in Type 2 diabetes, the body cells are unable to use insulin properly. People who are overweight are more likely to have insulin resistance, (where the body does not respond correctly to insulin) because fat interferes with the body's ability to use insulin.

Type 2 Diabetes

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes:
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Increased appetite
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Poor wound healing
  • Poor circulation

Joint and back disorders

Joint and back disorders Obesity can have some serious negative impact on your joints, especially the main weight-bearing joints. Your lower back, hips, knees and ankles are likely to suffer as a result and can lead to much pain and discomfort.

Joints are built to withstand tremendous strains and pressures from regular activities. However, they have their limits! When they are continuously being put under excessive strain, parts of them will start to break down and you will begin to experience pains. Often, you will develop bursitis which, if left untreated, can progress to arthritis.

Obviously losing weight is a key to relieving the stress on the weight bearing joints. Because of the way your joints are built, 5kgs weight loss takes 20kgs off your knees! Joint pain can be debilitating and can interfere with your daily life.

Obesity and Extra Weight Can Cause Low Back Pain

Along with other health issues that arise from having an unhealthy weight level, obese and overweight patients have an increased risk for back pain, joint pain and muscle strain. In particular, overweight patients are more likely to experience problems in their low back than patients at a healthy weight level.

This is especially true for people with extra weight around their midsection as the extra weight pulls the pelvis forward, strains the low back and creates low back pain. In addition to muscle strain, spinal structures such as the discs can be negatively impacted by obesity.

Patients with significant excess weight also may experience sciatica and low back pain from a herniated disc or from a pinched nerve if the discs have been damaged from compensating for the extra weight.

People who are overweight or obese and suffer from back pain may not be aware that their excess weight is actually contributing to their back pain. While it has not been thoroughly studied exactly how excess weight can cause or contribute to back pain, it is known that people who are overweight often are at greater risk for back pain, joint pain and muscle strain than those who are not obese.

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