Weight Loss Surgery Pros and Cons

Obesity is a common modern-world problem. A result of sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy eating habits, obesity mainly occurs when calorie consumption is more than calorie expenditure

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Who can undergo weight-loss surgery?

Obesity is a common modern-world problem. A result of sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy eating habits, obesity mainly occurs when calorie consumption is more than calorie expenditure. Sometimes, factors such as genetics and poor metabolism can also contribute to weight gain. Obesity can have a devastating impact on a person’s health and overall quality of life. It is closely associated with chronic ailments such as heart disease, cancer, and type-2 diabetes. It can also severely affect a person’s mental state.

But losing weight requires a lot of dedication, time, and discipline. The most obvious path to weight loss is via a balanced diet and regular exercise. But due to lack of time, money or even effort, many people find it difficult to go down this path. Another option you may have heard of is weight loss surgery.

Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, is a way to help people lose weight, by either limiting the amount of food they eat or by reducing the absorption of nutrients in their body. The basic principle of bariatric surgery is to alter or make changes in the digestive system, usually the stomach or small intestines, so that food or nutrients are not absorbed in the usual way.

Who can undergo weight-loss surgery?

Bariatric surgery is not for everyone. The surgery is generally performed when you meet the following criteria:

  • Your current body weight is 100 pounds more than your ideal body weight.
  • Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is over 40*.
  • You have a BMI of over 35, along with at least one obesity-related medical condition, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, fatty liver disease, osteoarthritis, lipid abnormalities, or gastrointestinal disorders.
  • You have not been successful in achieving weight-loss with diet and exercise.

*You can calculate your BMI by inputting your weight and height into an online BMI calculator. Make sure the source says "World Health Organisation" under the calculator, for the most reliable results.

What are the advantages of weight-loss surgery?

Obesity is linked to lethargy, depression, skin issues, heart problems, and many other diseases. Weight-loss surgery can have the following positive impacts on your body:

1.Better quality of life: Studies show that patients with morbid obesity generally suffer from depression and low self-esteem. Patients who have undergone weight-loss surgery are more energetic, healthy, confident, and feel better about their bodies.

2.Improved heart health: With weight-loss, the body’s cholesterol and blood pressure also stabilise. This reduces a person’s risk of suffering from a stroke or coronary heart disease.

3.Reduced joint pains: Excessive weight can cause pressure on the joints that can lead to osteoarthritis. Weight-loss surgery brings relief from joint pains.

4.Combats infertility: Studies have shown that obesity can lower fertility levels in both men and women. Weight-loss can increase a person’s fertility. This is especially true for women in their child-bearing years i.e. before they reach menopause.

5.Reduces the risk of type-2 diabetes: Obese women are 90% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes as compared to healthy women with a BMI of less than 22. The percentage stands at 42% for men. Bariatric surgery can help improve the body’s insulin sensitivity and in some cases, provide permanent remission from type-2 diabetes.

Increases mortality: Many doctors believe that obesity can affect a person’s mortality. The weight-loss surgery can add years to your life.

What are the disadvantages of weight-loss surgery?

All surgical procedures carry some amount of risk and bariatric surgery is no different. Some common side effects from the surgery are:

  • Acid reflux and vomiting
  • Dilation of oesophagus
  • Inability to eat certain food items
  • Diarrhoea
  • Wound infection
  • General risks associated with anaesthesia

The surgery can also pose some long-term problems like:

  • ​​​​Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD
  • Nutritional deficiencies and stomach ulcers
  • Hernia
  • Low blood sugar

How much does weight-loss surgery cost?

The cost of weight loss surgery can depend on several factors like your medical history, your age, the hospital, surgeon, etc. The average cost in India can vary between Rs. 2,25,000 and Rs. 7,00,000. But the good news is that the surgery can be covered by insurance

What is the verdict?

Well, there is no straight answer. While it is true that weight-loss surgery is a modern and effective way to deal with obesity, it can fail if patients do not continue to follow it up with moderate lifestyle changes. The surgery does carry some risks but the benefits associated with weight-loss easily outnumber them.

So, ensure that you do not compromise with your health, and reach out to your doctor today. Tata AIG Medicare Premier covers bariatric surgery for those who have been advised to undertake it, so #ThinkAhead and make an informed decision about whether it is the right path for you.

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