Benefits of Weight Loss Surgery
With severe obesity there are many resulting problems that affect most organs in the body. Most of these problems can be improved, or completely resolved, with successful weight loss. Most people see this, at least for short periods of time, when they diet and lose weight. However, the benefits are often lost if the weight returns and, unfortunately, weight loss from dieting doesn’t often last for most patients.
Weight loss surgery provides you with long-term, sustained weight loss. Depending on which surgery you get, you will lose 50-90% of your excess body weight and keep that weight off for your entire life.
Medical conditions that may greatly improve after surgery include:
High Blood Pressure
At least 70% of patients, who have high blood pressure, and take medication to control it, are able to stop all medications. Patients usually have a normal blood pressure within two to three months after surgery. When medications are still needed, the dosage can often be lowered, also reducing the accompanying side effects from the medication.
More than 80% of patients develop normal cholesterol levels within two to three months after the operation.
Although there is not definitive proof heart disease is reduced through this surgery, the improvement in conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes suggest that risk for heart disease is lowered. In a recent study, the risk of death from heart disease was found to be significantly reduced in diabetic patients.
More than 90% of Type II diabetics have excellent results from surgery. Usually within a few weeks after surgery they experience normal blood sugar levels, normal Hemoglobin A1C values, and often no longer need medications including insulin injections. In fact, most patients who get a gastric bypass or duodenal switch surgery are discharged from the hospital with no diabetes medications.
Most asthmatics find they have fewer and less severe attacks, or sometimes none at all, after surgery. When asthma is associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease, gastric bypass is particularly beneficial.
Improvement in exercise tolerance and breathing ability usually occurs within a few months after surgery. Patients who are barely able to walk without losing breath find they are able to participate in family activities, sometimes even sports.
Sleep Apnea Syndrome
Dramatic relief from sleep apnea happens as patients lose weight. Many patients report that their symptoms are gone within one year of surgery. Some even stopped snoring completely. Many patients who need an accessory breathing apparatus to treat sleep apnea no longer need it after the weight loss from surgery.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
For most patients, relief of all symptoms of reflux usually happens within a few days of surgery.
When gallbladder disease is present at the time of surgery, the gallbladder can be removed during this operation. If it is not removed, there is increased risk of developing gallstones after surgery.
Stress Urinary Incontinence
This condition is dramatically improved with weight loss and is usually well controlled after surgery. If patients still have trouble with urinary incontinence after surgery, they may choose to have a corrective procedure done later. The weight loss from the bypass often increases the chance of success for this secondary procedure.
Lower Back Pain, Degenerative Disk Disease, and Degenerative Joint Disease
Patients usually experience considerable relief from pain and disability after surgery. This tends to occur early, within the first month or the first 30 pounds of weight loss. If there is nerve irritation or structural damage already present from these conditions, weight loss may not reverse the damage and some pain may continue.