In spite of what many think, this is not a frivolous field of medicine. Those who are one hundred pounds or more above their ideal weight are prey to severe health complications. Among these are hypertension and other heart conditions, type 2 diabetes, and sleep apnea. Any of these conditions can be life-threatening. All of them, as well as the excess weight, lower the quality of life for millions of people.
The fact is that obesity makes it impossible to get the recommended amount of exercise, which does not help any weight-control plan. Without exercise, circulation of blood and lymph is compromised and digestion is impaired. This weakens the immune system, so the person is susceptible to many ills. A lack of muscle tone also makes burning calories less efficient, as less are burned for energy and more are stored as fat.
Excess weight puts great stress on the feet and joints, which can make even walking difficult. If those who cannot exercise also have hormonal issues, losing weight is even harder. Poor eating habits add the final touch to obesity. This condition is second only to smoking as a dangerous habit that can cause death. In fact, sitting is now called 'the new smoking', as doctors realize its negative effects.
Laparoscopic surgery carries less dangers than open incisions. In this technique, long metal tubes called endoscopes are used to allow the surgeon to operate through tiny incisions that may be far from the actual site of the surgery. There is less chance of infection, less pain and scarring, and a greatly reduced time for recovery.
Special cameras and lights allow the surgeon to 'see' what he's doing. Advances like these make surgery feasible for many whose health might not allow conventional surgical procedures. Gastric by-pass used to be major surgery with inherent risks. These have been greatly reduced with the less invasive procedures.
The clinics that offer this service also provide comprehensive support. Dietitians and nutritionists hold classes on proper eating habits and good lifestyle choices. Support groups help both before and after surgery and recovery, giving people the encouragement they need for success. Behavioral counselors help people understand the emotional aspects of obesity and the ways that people can cause themselves to fail.
This pre-op and post-op program involves both surgeons and trained professionals, as well as patients themselves. The personalized approach has proved very important in the success of this weight-loss measure. Without lifestyle and dietary changes, people who have the surgery often gain the weight back. With them, a whole new life is possible with everything needed for happiness and health.
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