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Obesity: Surgical Solutions?

Obesity is a chronic condition characterized by an increase in body fat that leads to other serious health complications such as blood pressure, sleep apnea, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and osteoarthritis, among others. Usually, obesity is estimated using the body mass index (BMI). Overweight does not always imply obesity. Obesity is a more serious problem that requires being treated through diet, exercise, medication or surgery in order to reduce the risks of suffering one of the diseases mentioned above.

What causes obesity? Obesity comes from a disproportion between the intake and expenditure of calories. If you consume more calories than the ones that you use to perform your daily activities, then you can develop problems of overweight and obesity. According to some specialists, if you gain weight during certain periods of time in life (12-18 months, 12-16 years, adulthood and pregnancy), obesity is more difficult to treat. Other factors such as age, gender and activity level explain why some people are more likely to gain weight than others. As you become older, your metabolism slows down, and you gain weight. Women have lower metabolic rate; for this reason, they are more likely to earn weight. Active persons burn more calories; thus, low physical activity is associated with obesity.

In some cases, diets and exercise are not enough to treat obesity. In those cases, the only solution seems to be surgery. One of these surgical solutions is vertical banded gastroplasty. It consists of stapling the stomach to reduce its capacity. Its primary effect is to produce a feeling of fullness and satiety, so the person cannot intake more food without feeling pain or nausea. Gastric banding, another surgical solution, involves placing an adjustable band around the top of the stomach. Like vertical banded gastroplasty, the result of the surgery is a smaller stomach and an inhibition to eat great amounts of food. Finally, gastrointestinal bypass procedures, which are more common and popular, involve stapling the top portion of the stomach to reduce it and connecting it directly to the small intestine. Nevertheless, these procedures increase the risk of malnutrition due to inadequate absorption of minerals, nutrients and water.

Once you recognize that you have a problem with your weight, make sure you consult a doctor before making any decision. If you do not do so, the solution could be worse than the original problem. Remember that any surgery implies its own risks, and the procedures mentioned above are not exempt from them. Always keep in mind that health is your number one concern.

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