With almost a third of the American adult population classified as obese, it's clear that if you're overweight, you certainly aren't alone. Obesity is a growing health epidemic, and it affects the emotional and physical well-being of those who suffer from it.
Some of the many health risks that are associated with obesity include the following:
- Increased risk for many types of cancer
- Increased chance of having type II diabetes
- Higher risk of developing heart disease
- Increased likelihood of having high blood pressure and stroke
- Higher chance of having joint ailments like arthritis
- Increased likelihood of having breathing problems
How Can Obesity Be Controlled?
Traditionally, obesity has been considered a result of overindulgence in food and lack of exercise. For some people, this is the case. Diet and exercise play an important role in controlling obesity, but in some cases, the extra weight gets in the way to starting a good diet and exercise program.
For those people, weight loss surgery, including lap band surgery, may be an effective option in getting excess weight under control. When the weight is gone, it's possible to implement a good exercise plan.
Types of Weight Loss Surgery
Weight loss surgery may be a good option for people who have not had weight loss success with non-surgical methods. Weight loss surgery can provide the best results for these individuals, including longer-term loss of weight.
The two most common types of weight loss surgery are lap band surgery and gastric bypass surgery. There are significant differences between these two weight loss surgery options, and it's important that those considering weight loss surgery understand the risks and benefits of both options.
What is Gastric Bypass?
Gastric bypass is a weight loss surgery option that involves several steps, including the following:
- Stapling the stomach to reduce its size
- Bypassing much of the stomach and some of the intestines
- Surgically attaching the intestines to the smaller stomach pouch
This procedure makes it impossible for the patient to eat as much food as they normally would. The shortened intestine also means that the body cannot absorb as many nutrients from the food.
There are some advantages to this weight loss surgery option. They include a rapid loss of weight and a long history of successful use in the United States. Gastric bypass sometimes results in a higher total average loss of weight than is found in patients who have undergone a lap band procedure.
The disadvantages of gastric bypass surgery are significant. The procedure is extremely invasive. Gastric bypass surgery results in more complications than lap band surgery, and patients who have undergone gastric bypass procedures have a difficult time absorbing essential nutrients from their food.
In addition, there are several negative side effects associated with the gastric bypass procedure, including "dumping syndrome" and medical complications. Reversal of gastric bypass surgery is very difficult, and gastric bypass surgery has a mortality rate that is ten times higher than lap band surgery.
What is Lap Band Surgery?
Lap band surgery is a weight loss surgery option that involves placing an adjustable gastric band around the upper portion of a patient's stomach. This procedure restricts the amount of food the stomach can contain, because it restricts the size of the stomach. It also increases the amount of time it takes for food to pass to the intestines.
The lap band procedure works because it limits the amount of food a patient can eat, slows digestion, and reduces the patient's appetite. This procedure does not interfere with the body's ability to absorb nutrients from food.
Lap band surgery has many advantages, including being minimally invasive, adjustable, and reversible. There is a much lower risk for malnutrition. The short-term mortality rate for lap band surgery is one tenth the mortality rate for gastric bypass, making it a much safer weight loss surgery option.
The disadvantages of lap band surgery are that it results in slower weight loss than gastric bypass surgery, requires follow-up medical visits, and has a small risk of leaking or slipping.
Please note that the lap band is also known as the slimband, or slim band.
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