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Obesity and Bariatric surgery

Obesity and weight related problems are the biggest health risks that Americans face on a daily basis.  Obesity is considered an actual health condition, due to its serious physically damaging effects.  An obese person is someone whose weight increases the risk of health related conditions.  Someone who is morbidly obese weighs at least 100 lbs. over their body's ideal weight. 

Obesity is a chronic disease affecting almost 100 million Americans, more than a third of the population.  Some 7 million of those people suffer from morbid obesity.  Obesity is a problem that is closely linked with heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, gallbladder disease, gallstones, bone problems, gout, and breathing related problems.

When a person becomes so obese that their health is rapidly declining, surgery may be an option that can provide a quick treatment.  Bariatric surgery is the general name for the type of surgeries used to treat people suffering from obesity.  There are several types of Bariatric surgeries available to obesity sufferers. 

Obesity surgeries involve operations on the stomach that restrict the amount of food that one can ingest.  Some types of Bariatric surgeries are:  Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass, Adjustable Gastric Banding, and Biliopancreatic Diversion.

Operations for obesity fall under one of two categories.  One technique is the surgical shrinkage of the stomach, limiting the amount of food that is able to enter.  Another set of techniques known as Malabsorptive limits the absorption of food through intestinal walls.  Most Bariatric surgeries employ a combination of both techniques.

 Restriction operations reduce the amount of food that is able to enter the body. This includes gastric banding and vertical banded gastroplasty.  Gastric banding is the insertion of a small band of material, which is tied around part of the stomach creating a pocket inaccessible to food.  Vertical banded gastroplasty uses a similar technique but with the inclusion of surgical staples.

The most common bariatric surgery is called Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RGB).  During RGB, a pouch is created using staples or a band.  A section of the intestine is then re-routed in order to bypass portions of the intestine, limiting food absorption.

Another procedure, DISTAL Gastric Bypass, cuts part of the stomach out and then connects the remaining smaller stomach to a later part of the intestine.

All surgeries have the risk of side effects, but obesity related bariatric surgeries have been very effective and safe.  Obesity is reduced and other related health issues can disappear fairly rapidly.  A consultation with an experienced bariatric surgeon is the first step toward making an informed decision in helping your health.