Obesity and Health Conditions

Weight Loss Surgery – Dallas, TX

Obesity is a major medical condition that causes and makes other medical conditions harder to treat. Unfortunately, there is no medicine to treat obesity. As a person’s weight increases, it becomes more difficult to treat their medical conditions. That means more doctor office visits and money spent.

Even if you do not have any medical conditions at this moment, obesity now can lead to serious conditions later in life. If you have a family history of these medical problems, you may also want to avoid getting those conditions.

The goal of surgery is to improve or get rid of serious medical conditions that affect your health.  Losing weight is a goal, but we should also be concentrating on overall health and quality of life.

Life with Obesity & How Bariatric Surgery Helps

Before having weight loss surgery, it is common for patients to talk about how obesity often hinders them from joy due to health complications that are derived from obesity.

After surgery, patients become able to enjoy life at a higher degree. They tend to mention rediscovering intimacy and romance with their loved ones. Playing with their children, enjoying family activities and outings is less cumbersome. They experience renewed energy for work, family and hobbies altogether.

Dr. Dirk has been performing obesity surgery for 10 years and had the honor of helping thousands of patients board the train of good health. It is very clear to Dr. Dirk that weight loss surgery helps move people to a happy and fulfilling time in their life.

Obesity leads to specific health conditions that are serious, but can be resolved with the help of surgery. If you would like to reduce the impact of any of these conditions and improve your quality of life, contact Dr. Dirk today.


Diabetes & Weight Loss Surgery

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus is a serious medical condition. Doctors know that the most common cause of diabetes in adults is obesity. If diabetes is not treated with good sugar control, it leads to heart disease, stroke, high cholesterol, blindness, kidney failure, amputations of toes, feet and legs. Over several years it produces increasing medical problems and can even lead to death.

Diabetes requires very careful treatment and the patient must check their blood sugars with fingerstick checks, and have regular doctor visits.


Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

High blood pressure can lead to poor health by way of heart disease, heart attack, stroke and kidney failure. As obesity worsens the ability to keep blood pressure controlled is tougher and your doctor may need to give a higher dose or add more medicines.

The combination of surgery, nutrition and exercise with the drop in weight helps bring high blood pressure under easier control.


Blood Pressure After Bariatric Surgery

The improvement in blood pressure after weight loss surgery depends on the person’s age and how long they have had high blood pressure. The younger a person is and the shorter time they have had high blood pressure, the easier it is to get rid of it. Even if high blood pressure remains after surgery, as the patient loses weight, it becomes easier to control.


Sleep Apnea Due to Obesity

This is a fancy term for when you stop breathing when you fall asleep. This is a serious condition that can produce high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attack and stroke. For someone who has obesity and sleep apnea, the only way to treat it is to wear a mask over your face or nose that will supply air or oxygen under pressure while the person sleeps. With obesity, the soft tissues of the neck and throat crowd around the wind pipe and block air from getting in. While most folks wake up to breathe, with sleep apnea many people barely wake up to take one or two breaths. This leads to increased levels of carbon dioxide in the blood and low levels of oxygen. That combination is not good for the brain, heart or lungs.

This is one circumstance where weight loss produces a fast and direct result. Losing weight causes the tissues around the airway to shrink in size and a person’s airway stays open even while they are asleep.

For my patients with sleep apnea, this is one of the things that disappears the fastest. Their spouses say how wonderful it is that there is no more snoring.


GERD

This is called heartburn and acid reflux. For patients with obesity, the increase in abdomen size creates a constant high pressure in the stomach. This pressure overcomes the muscles in the food pipe that keep food and acid down where it belongs. People with obesity and GERD have a lot of heartburn or burping up of food or acid. Medicine can help the feeling of heartburn, but it does not stop the reflux. The reflux is mostly bothersome, but there is a risk that the constant reflux can injure the lining of the esophagus possibly creating a risk of cancer of the esophagus.

Obesity surgery helps by reducing body size and reducing the amount of pressure against the food pipe.

Patients with GERD say they get great relief after surgery. In some, the GERD may stay, but the patients say it is easier to control with one medicine a day.


High Cholesterol

In this we will include high lipids and triglycerides. An increase of these items in your blood stream will lead to heart attack, stroke, heart disease and poor arterial circulation. There are many medicines to treat this. But just like with other conditions as obesity worsens it becomes harder to control the abnormal levels. Many modern medicines have serious side effects. Patients need frequent blood test to make sure that the medicine is working and that it is not causing harm to the body.

Obesity surgery helps this condition by changing different hormones in the body and how the body handles cholesterol. Cholesterol changes slowly after surgery, but it does change. Dr. Dirk patients with high cholesterol take about 1-2 years to get off their medicines.


Joint Pain, Osteoarthritis & Back Pain

The pressure of the increased weight from obesity creates pain in different joints and on the spine. This can create loss of cartilage that produces bone on bone friction. When this happens the only thing that doctors can offer patients is joint replacement.

For patients with back pain, the disc between the vertebral bones gets flattened and does not cushion the bones. This creates pain and pressure on nerves in the spine area, making it painful to walk or do other activities.

Many joint or spine surgeons do not want to do surgery on obese patients for fear that the obesity will cause the new joint or spine repair to wear down and need surgery again in a couple years. In addition, joint and spine surgery has a higher risk with obese patients.

The reduction in body mass releases the pressure on the joints and spine. Many of my patients experience great relief after obesity surgery by losing weight and relieving the pressure on their joints or spine. Others are able to have joint replacement or spine surgery safely because the medical conditions that went along with their obesity has disappeared or improved so much that their risk for surgery drops dramatically.


Cancer

There is no arguing with current medical science that obesity increases the risk of developing a variety of cancers. Doctors do not know why, but it is clear that the risk of developing cancer is higher. Probably because obesity brings other conditions that increase the risk for cancer.

When people lose weight, there are a lot of good hormone changes in their body. It is possible that these good hormone changes may also help decrease the risk of cancer. Additionally, the loss of weight after surgery makes it easier for doctors to examine patients, and x-ray machines see into bodies easier.

Obesity surgery is about moving to good health. Even if cancer develops when one is no longer obese, the body is healthier to undergo the treatment to successfully beat the cancer.


Depression

It can invade every part of life and affect every aspect. All Dr. Dirk patients go through a pre-surgery psychological evaluation so we can help them identify any mental health issues that might interfere with their after surgery success. It is important that the obesity surgery patient that has depression have all the support from their surgeon, family doctor, family and friends to help them if depression affects them after surgery.

Depression in patients tends to disappear to the point of not needing medication or that they feel better and that their medicine is more effective at helping them. It is recommended that patients should plan to see a therapist after obesity surgery to help them with the radical positive changes that will come to their life.


Irritable Bowel Disease

Irritable bowel disease is a confusing set of symptoms where patients have intestinal upset, cramps, irregular bowel movements, with alternating episodes of constipation or diarrhea. Changing nutrition habits can help, but for some people nothing ever gives them full relief.

I have had patients who state that their irritable bowel improves greatly and in some cases disappears after obesity surgery. I do not know if this is related purely to weight loss or the hormone changes that come with surgery. But it is clear to me that patient’s experience relief.


Sex

Patients tell me that before obesity surgery they had difficulty with sex. Women revealed that they did not feel comfortable disrobing. Men complained of erectile dysfunction (ED) or being physically limited. All the other health problems I have described and the medications used to treat them can interfere with desire and physical performance. Many patients say they did not have the energy.

After surgery it is an entirely different matter. Patients found a new romantic energy. As a physician I understand the science for this new found energy. As a doctor I know that this comes from the happiness and peace of mind that they are healthy and everything is working the way they feel it should.


Ready to get started improving your health? Call Dr. Dirk today!