What is bariatric surgery?
Bariatric surgery, also called weight loss surgery, is a category of surgical operations intended to help people with obesity lose weight. Bariatric surgery procedures work by modifying your digestive system — usually your stomach, and sometimes also your small intestine — to control how many calories you can consume and absorb. They can also reduce the hunger signals that travel from your digestive system to your brain.
Is Weight Loss Surgery Right for You?
If you are very overweight and have struggled to lose weight through diet and exercise, bariatric surgery might be right for you.
- If you are 80 pounds or more overweight.
- Suffer from obesity-related medical condition.
- Have tried everything to lose weight.
- Ready to commit to long-term changes to their diet and lifestyle.
What kinds of conditions can bariatric surgery treat?
Obesity is associated with many chronic diseases, many of which can be life-threatening. These conditions and risk factors greatly improve after surgery and weight loss.
- High cholesterol. Hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol) means your blood has too many lipids (fats) in it. These can add up and lead to blockages in your blood vessels which can put you at risk for a stroke or heart attack.
- High blood sugar. Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) is highly linked to insulin resistance and is considered a precursor to diabetes. If this is left untreated, it can damage your nerves, blood vessels, tissues and organs, increasing your risk of many diseases.
- Type 2 diabetes. Excess fat storage can lead to insulin resistance, which can lead to adult-onset diabetes (type 2).
- Heart disease. Obesity can lead to impaired cardiac function and congestive heart failure. It can also cause plaque to build up inside your arteries and it can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Kidney disease. Metabolic syndromes associated with obesity, including high blood pressure, insulin resistance and congestive heart failure, are major contributors to chronic kidney disease and kidney failure.
- Obstructive sleep apnea. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep when their upper respiratory tract becomes blocked. These episodes reduce oxygen flow to the vital organs and particularly endanger the heart.
- Osteoarthritis. Having excess weight puts extra pressure on joints like your knees. This makes it more likely that you’ll develop osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease, or make it worse if you already have it.