Bariatric surgery and obesity-related comorbidities

Written by: Mr Sanjay Agrawal
Published: | Updated: 05/02/2020
Edited by: Laura Burgess

Comorbidities mean a disease or a 'link' to a primary health condition. These are obviously more relevant with excess body weight as extreme weight gain can cause comorbidities, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus or high cholesterol. Here, leading bariatric surgeon Mr Sanjay Agrawal explains how weight loss surgery can reduce the burden of the possible health complications that co-exist with morbid obesity.

Obese woman sat on her sofa with a book

What are common comorbidities for bariatric surgery?

Increasing weight gain can cause multiple obesity-associated commodities, such as:

  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Hypertension – high blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Stress urinary incontinence
  • Degenerative joint disease
  • Depression
  • Cancer
  • Risk of dying

What is morbid obesity?

When a person has a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 35 with any of the comorbidities that were mentioned in the list above then they are considered morbidly obese. Or a person who has a BMI of 40 without any obesity-related comorbidities is considered morbidly obese.

Is a morbidly obese person likely to develop comorbidity?

There is an increased likelihood that he or she would develop one of these conditions. If someone were to become obese at age 20, by age 30 it is possible to have developed a co-existing condition.

It takes time for the body to react and comorbidity does not just happen overnight as it develops slowly. An increased BMI does, however, mean that there is a higher risk of mortality. For every 5kg per squared BMI increment that is out of range, there is a 30 per cent increase in overall mortality.

What are the surgical procedures available for someone who is obese?

The three surgical procedures widely available for someone who is obese are laparoscopic gastric band surgery, laparoscopic gastric bypass and laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy. Presently, sleeve gastrectomy is the commonest surgical procedure performed for obesity.

Read more on gastric sleeve surgery

If an obese person has bariatric surgery, how can it reduce comorbidities?

Reducing the burden of comorbidities works through the loss of weight. Following bariatric surgery, a person starts losing weight and their health starts to get better over time. Type 2 diabetes mellitus, however, has the most dramatic effect and may go into remission immediately after weight loss surgery.

If you’re considering weight loss surgery, do not hesitate to book an appointment with Mr Agrawal to discuss your options.

By Mr Sanjay Agrawal

Mr Sanjay Agrawal is one of London's leading consultants in the specialty of bariatric, laparoscopic and upper GI Surgery and is certified as a 'Master Surgeon in Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery™ (MSMBS™)' by American Surgical Review Corporation. He is one of the country's prominent experts in obesity and weight loss surgery.

He also has a broad range of surgical expertise and performs surgery for gallstones and all kinds of hernias regularly. 

Mr Agrawal has undergone extensive training in the UK, Belgium, Japan and India and has undertaken more than 2,000 general surgical procedures so far. In addition, he has experience in over 1,250 laparoscopic bariatric procedures to date.

Mr Agrawal is Editor of the textbook titled "Obesity, Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery: A Practical Guide" which has achieved more than 190,000 individual chapter downloads worldwide so far. He is also Director of London International Bariatric Surgery Symposium (LIBSS).

Mr Agrawal is a well-respected and very active member of the medical community, dividing his time between consultation and surgery, teaching, committee membership, publishing books and articles and even finding time for television appearances as an expert in his field. 

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