Morbid Obesity

Morbid Obesity & Surgical Treatment Overview

Morbid Obesity is defined as a Body Mass Index of greater than 40 if there are no other health problems and 35 if there are other health problems. Every year, thousands of Americans die from the complications of being severely overweight. More specifically, they develop diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart failure, degenerating joints, urinary incontinence, vein diseases and leg ulcers that do not heal. Billions of health care dollars are spent every year treating these diseases that improve or completely resolve after adequate weight loss.

In addition to the health problems, many morbidly obese patients are subjected to many social and relationship problems. Properly fitting clothes are difficult to find, with less selection, restaurant, theater and airplane seats are small and uncomfortable, health insurance is more difficult and more expensive to obtain, job opportunities may not be made available to you.

Why Not Just Stop Eating?
There are many reasons why a person is obese. There may be many more reason that we haven’t discovered yet. Most of the time, it is simply overeating due to a learned behavior; for instance, eating makes you feel better or eases stress. Sometimes, it is due to a genetic reason, or a combination. As most morbidly obese individuals know, diets are ineffective at treating their weight problems. A National Institutes of Health has shown that 97% of morbidly obese people fail to have any permanent weight loss from dieting alone. In fact, The Centers for Disease Control has labeled obesity an epidemic! Permanent weight loss comes from permanent behavioral modification, and surgery helps do just that permanently modify your eating habits.

Digestion
The chemical process that makes up digestion starts in your mouth when you chew a bite of food. The saliva in your mouth is rich in enzymes that begin to break down the food into very small particles. Next, in the stomach, it is mixed with acid and mucous and is stored until it is broken down into even smaller particles. Once emptied into the small intestine, the food particles are mixed with bile and pancreatic juices necessary for absorption. The food mixture is milked down the small intestines, and as it passes, the particles are absorbed for use as a fuel for the body. When the amount of fuel (Calories) ingested exceeds the needs of the body, the excess fuel is stored as fat.

Fat and Dieting
You become fat when you ingest more food than is needed to maintain bodily functions, day after day, month after month, year after year. Likewise, when you take in less food than is needed for bodily functions, the body uses your fat stores for power, and thus you lose weight. Until you force your body to live off of its fat stores, you will remain fat, and possibly get fatter. No pill, supplement, herb, or “spa treatment” will get rid of fat.