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Other Considerations

The benefits of bariatric surgery range from helping control ailments like heart disease and respiratory problems to lower back pain. For the many Americans who suffer from morbid obesity, the chances of controlling or eliminating any weight-related problems could be difficult when faced with fad diets and get-fit-quick alternatives that rob you of your money instead of adding value to your life.

Very often, the only way an obese person can help regain a healthy life (and prevent health-related complications) is via bariatric surgery – the leading and most effective weight loss treatment available to those have a body mass index over 40 kg/m2.

When people who suffer from obesity of this magnitude, the chance of developing heart and respiratory problems, and other muscle weaknesses is greatly heightened. But bariatric surgery can help people make the proper lifestyle changes to control these potential disadvantages.

Aside from the major potential ailments that exist for people who are overweight or obese, there are other lesser known conditions that, with bariatric surgery and healthy lifestyle choices, can be controlled and/or eliminated:

Pickwickian syndrome - This syndrome was named after a character in one of Charles Dickens’ novels. One character of his, Mr. Pickwick, had a peculiar type of labored breathing which 20th century clinicians recognized as being associated with sleep apnea. The three clinical components of Pickwickian syndrome are day time sleepiness, lack of oxygen and excess carbon dioxide in the blood. This disorder, if left unchecked, can eventually lead to heart failure.

Degenerative Arthritis of Weight-Bearing Joints - The hips, knees, ankles and feet have to bear most of the weight of the body. These joints tend to wear out more quickly, or to develop degenerative arthritis much earlier and more frequently, than in the normal-weighted person. Eventually, joint replacement surgery may be needed, to relieve the severe pain. Unfortunately, the obese person faces a disadvantage there too -- joint replacement has much poorer results in the obese. Many orthopedic surgeons refuse to perform the surgery in severely overweight patients.

Venous Stasis Disease - The veins of the lower legs carry blood back to the heart, and they are equipped with an elaborate system of delicate one-way valves, to allow them to carry blood "uphill". The pressure of a large abdomen may increase the load on these valves, eventually causing damage or destruction. The blood pressure in the lower legs then increases, causing swelling, thickening of the skin, and sometimes ulceration of the skin. The loss of weight brought by WLS can improve or cure venous stasis disease.  

Emotional/Psychological/Social Disease - The obese face constant challenges to their emotions: repeated failure with dieting, disapproval from family and friends, ridicule and remarks from strangers, lack of self- esteem, social rejection, loss of job potential, inappropriate coping strategies, depression and anxiety. They often experience discrimination at work, and cannot fit into theatre seats, or a ride in a bus or airplane.

Through bariatric surgery, these and many other disadvantages can be controlled. Although bariatric surgery is not a recognized cure in any of these instances, it, along with appropriate lifestyle changes, will benefit all who experience and endure morbid obesity.