The Benefits of Bariatric Surgery

Any bariatric procedure carries risks. Yet many thousands have chosen to undergo one, deciding that the benefits far outweigh them. Whether that’s true for you will depend on lots of personal factors, of course. Still, there are some general considerations that are true of almost anyone seeking to join that happy group.

Weight loss is the most obvious benefit of bariatric surgery, the one that drives most obese individuals to try it. Any individual with a BMI of 40 or greater is far above the average of a healthy weight. BMI 40 usually represents about 100 lbs overweight for men and 80 lbs for women. In extreme cases the number could represent enormous muscle mass, but even a bodybuilder with that BMI are few and far between.

One of the common, and intended, effects of bariatric surgery is to reduce the amount of calories retained. That usually happens one of two ways, and sometimes both. The procedure reduces the desire to consume excess amounts of food (restrictive procedures). It also often reduces what is absorbed by the body (malabsorptive procedures). The two types are not mutually exclusive; a given one may have both effects.

The obese may seek a bariatric procedure for other reasons, too, often related to desiring weight loss. Obesity commonly produces many ill effects and the right procedure can treat them.

Sleep apnea is one common complaint among the obese. Weight loss surgery can radically reduce its occurrence. Having a large, heavy body can make sleeping in a particular position difficult or uncomfortable. Yet, sleeping on the back sometimes restricts the air passage. That leads to temporary suspension of breathing during sleep, i.e. sleep apnea.

Apnea carries subsidiary effects, such as overall restlessness at night. That may produce a mild form of sleep deprivation, a reduction in the proper amount of REM sleep.

Obesity also affects blood sugar level, which in turn influences blood pressure. High blood pressure is another common result. That often strikes the leg first and foremost. Heart disease of various kinds is a common follow-on effect as well.

Persistent high blood sugar levels are also one of the chief factors in a common type of diabetes. Since bariatric surgery produces substantial weight loss it can, and typically does, reduce them to normal levels. The effect is enhanced by required changes to diet that are part of the overall process. It’s not uncommon for some types of diabetes to be completely cured this way.

Being thought more attractive is a common result and frequently a big motivator to undergo the procedure. It isn’t mere vanity; having a body type within a certain weight range is a sign of health. Along with that comes increased self-esteem and often an improved love life.

Self confidence frequently rises, as a result of improved health, the ability to move more freely, and being more attractive. Post-procedure patients are often more cheerful with others. They feel better about themselves and their prospects for a better life and that tends to come out in all kinds of social relationships.

Bariatric procedures offer both physical and psychological benefits, and the two are closely related. For the obese who have tried long and hard to lose weight, bariatric surgery may be the best option.