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Surgical treatment for obesity: health and quality of life improve
According to health experts, an increasing number of overweight and obese people live in Germany. Being overweight (obesity) is a risk factor for numerous diseases of civilization. Surgical treatment can help some patients. This not only improves health, but also quality of life.
Being overweight is a health hazard
More and more people worldwide are overweight and obese. Obesity is a risk factor for numerous lifestyle diseases. Diseases of the vessels and the cardiovascular system such as high blood pressure, coronary heart disease or arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) are particularly worth mentioning here. In addition, being overweight increases the risk of joint wear (arthrosis), diabetes and cancer. So there are enough reasons to lose weight if you are very overweight. If this does not work despite regular exercise and a healthy diet, surgical treatment is often necessary as a last resort for obesity.
More and more Germans are being treated for obesity
According to health experts, even minimal weight loss would have significant positive effects for overweight people.
In addition to a healthy, low-calorie and low-fat diet, sport would be very helpful here. This not only burns calories, but dispels the constant hunger.
But even though most of those affected are aware that their body weight has a negative impact on their health, many find it difficult to lose weight.
According to health experts, the number of Germans receiving medical treatment for obesity is increasing.
The number of so-called bariatric operations (surgical treatments for obesity) has also increased significantly in recent years.
Such surgical treatments for morbidly overweight not only have a positive effect on weight, but also on comorbidities and the quality of life of those affected.
Private lecturer Dr. Felix Nickel from Heidelberg University Hospital in various studies and has now been awarded the 2018 Oskar Medicine Prize.
Gastric bypass and gastric gastric surgery
As stated in a release, the most common procedures performed in bariatric surgery are gastric bypass and gastric gastric surgery.
In gastric bypass, the stomach is divided: the food only reaches the upper part of the stomach, which quickly signals satiety, and is then passed through the rest of the stomach into the small intestine.
In gastric sleeve surgery, the stomach is reduced by about two thirds. Lifelong follow-up care is necessary, including nutritional and psychosomatic advice if necessary.
In the long term, an overweight reduction can be achieved by up to 70 percent. According to the studies, the interventions can also remedy an accompanying diabetes (diabetes).
More confidence and a higher quality of life
There are other positive effects for those affected, as nickel found in several studies. For this purpose, more than 200 patients were questioned using special questionnaires, among other things, about quality of life and psychological wellbeing before and after the operation.
For the most part, weight loss also changed the body image for the better, the patients gained more self-confidence and a higher quality of life.
Concomitant diseases such as fatty liver disease, high blood pressure and joint pain improved. It was irrelevant whether the patients received a stomach or gastric bypass.
“Thanks to these positive effects on health and well-being, life expectancy also increases, as some studies have already shown,” explained Nickel.
"A gastric surgery is therefore definitely worth considering if other weight loss measures are not successful despite professional support."
Psychological suffering is often underestimated
"The concomitant diseases associated with obesity, life restrictions and the psychological suffering are often greatly underestimated," said the surgeon.
Many patients also suffer from depression because they are severely restricted in movement, resilience and social contacts.
Nickel is particularly interested in the motives for undergoing stressful surgical treatment:
“Many patients are not only worried about being overweight, but also because of the existing or impending comorbidities and are afraid of shortening their lives. It would be a relief for many patients to have easier access to surgical care, ”said Nickel.
A prerequisite for an operation is an extensive medical examination to rule out treatable reasons for obesity and to clarify risks, as well as a certain body mass index (BMI), which also depends on comorbidities.
Support is also important on another level, according to Nickel, for example in the form of information campaigns to counter stigmatization and to sensitize the population to the causes and consequences of the disease.
In addition, prevention campaigns are currently still lacking. The number of very overweight people in Germany has been increasing for years. (ad)