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.
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
- 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.
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.