Obesity Related Diseases
Overweight or obese persons are at greater risk of developing a range of other severe diseases that have negative impact on their lives. Achieving weight loss through bariatric surgery can often alleviate and, in some cases, even successfully treat some common conditions associated with overweight and obesity.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a disease that causes high levels of blood sugar due to malfunctioning hormone insulin and the cells that produce it in the pancreas. Around 90% of people that are diagnosed with this disease fall into the category of obese or overweight and approximately 1 in 4 overweight people will develop type 2 diabetes in their lives. Weight loss, healthy diet and regular physical activity can prevent or delay the onset of the disease, alternatively improve its symptoms and reduce the amount of needed medication. Bariatric surgery has been shown to lead to complete resolution of type 2 diabetes in majority of cases.
High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure means how hard your blood pushes against the walls of your arteries. High blood pressure (hypertension) is dangerous since it can lead to other serious health problems such as stroke, dementia or kidney and heart disease. Overweight people are in higher risk of hypertension due to their large body size as the heart needs to beat stronger to supply blood to all their cells. Furthermore, excess fat can clog or obstruct the arteries, causing damage to the heart, kidneys and brain. Weight loss surgeries often lead to significant improvements of hypertension, but in the long-term, healthy lifestyle is important for keeping the blood pressure in normal level.
High levels of cholesterol in blood can increase one’s risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and may affect the vessels carrying blood to the brain and limbs. Obesity together with lack of exercise, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and genetics are the major risk factors for developing high cholesterol. Lifestyle changes and weight loss surgeries can bring significant improvements to elevated cholesterol levels and reduce the connected risks.
Cardiovascular diseases affect the heart and vessels carrying blood. Among them, heart disease and stroke are the leading cause of death worldwide. Stroke is an interruption of blood flow into the brain, causing the death of brain cells. Heart diseases cover a range of problems resulting in abnormal heart rhythm, heart attack, chest pain or heart failure. Overweight people are in higher risk of cardiovascular diseases due to the common presence of their major causes – high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol. Weight loss obtained through bariatric surgery often leads to improved control over these factors and can thus significantly reduce one’s risk of developing a cardiovascular disease.
Sleep apnea happens when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep, often several times per night. This may leave the brain and body in lack of oxygen, leading to further serious complications. Obesity is the leading risk factor for the sleep apnea due to more fat stored around the neck, making the airways smaller, obstructed or inflamed. People who achieve weight loss via bariatric surgery in majority of cases get rid of their sleep apnea thanks to the reduced neck size and lessened occurrence of inflammations.
Asthma is a chronic inflammation of air passages in lungs causing shortness of breath and other symptoms. Obesity has shown increased risk of developing asthma, as the excessive fat stored in chest and lungs may reduce the lung capacity, prevent proper oxygen exchange and cause further inflammation of the small airways. Bariatric surgery and connected weight loss have been shown to reduce systemic inflammation, improve the function of air passages and in general provide better asthma control and quality of life.
Fatty Liver Disease
Fatty liver disease is caused by accumulation of fat in the liver tissue. If the progression is not controlled, it can eventually cause further injuries such as liver failure, cirrhosis or even liver cancer. This can happen also without the contribution of excessive drinking of alcohol and due to its connection with insulin resistance, fatty liver disease is often found in diabetic patients. Obesity is among the major risk factors for the fatty liver disease with 3 out of 4 obese being affected. Currently, the most effective treatment of the disease is a sustained, continuous weight loss, often achievable by a bariatric surgery, and correcting elevated levels of blood sugar and cholesterol.
Arthritis is an overarching name for joint diseases and inflammations and can lead to strong pains and mobility problems. The joints affected are most often in knees, hips and lower back. Being overweight contributes to arthritis significantly due to the excessive weight that the joints need to constantly support. Around 1 of 3 people with obesity is suffering from a form of arthritis. While regular physical exercise has been shown to reduce pain, improve flexibility and prevent arthritis, losing weight can significantly reduce the pressure on the joints, lessen inflammation and thus improve the symptoms.
Cancer is a disease caused by uncontrolled or abnormal growth of cells in a particular part of a body. There is a link between the increased risk of developing different types of cancer and obesity. This includes kidney, pancreatic, thyroid, breast, gallbladder, ovarian, endometrial and colorectal cancers. Being overweight or obese may increase the risk of developing an oncological disease via chronic inflammations, hormonal causes, insulin resistance or changes in immune functions. Even though personal risk factors need to be taken into account, the weight loss normally achieved by a bariatric surgery is likely to reduce the elevated risk of cancer.
Kidney disease occurs when one’s kidneys are damaged and cannot filter blood and control blood pressure like they normally should. This can result in residual wastes building up in the body and alleviated risks for further harmful problems. Obesity is linked with higher kidney disease risk and quicker onset of the symptoms. Losing weight can lead to keeping one’s kidneys healthier longer and bring beneficial impact to those already suffering from a kidney disease.
Besides infertility, reproductive problems include conditions such as pregnancy complications, gestational diabetes or menstrual issues for women and erectile dysfunction or low sperm count for men. Suffering from sexual health issues can then lead to psychological drawbacks negatively affecting one’s well-being and social life. An increased risk of developing these health problems have been linked with being overweight or obese. This is mostly due to the complications steaming from high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hormonal effects or cardiovascular problems preventing proper blood flow into all organs. Weight loss procedures are considered an effective means of improving these conditions and securing better health of the patients and their future families.
Urinary Stress Incontinence
Urinary stress incontinence is a condition that affects the quality of life and wellbeing through involuntary leakage of urine, often during laughing or coughing. It is more commonly found in women than in men. Obesity is a known risk factor for this issue, possibly due to excessive weight creating pressure on the bladder. Appropriate weight loss intervention can bring significant symptomatic reduction or total cure in most of the cases.