Is the Pandemic a Good Reason to Reconsider Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery?

Is the Pandemic a Good Reason to Reconsider Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery?

One of the important observations made during the Covid Pandemic was that nearly 80% of those individuals who died from Covid-19 or had severe infection requiring hospitalization suffered from severe excess weight. When researchers studied all clinical variables, no other factor – not even advanced age - was found to have such a profound impact on an individual’s response to this infection. This observation has resulted in a renewed interest among the public to find permanent solutions to excess weight.

Excess weight has always been known to be a risk factor for metabolic syndrome and a whole host of chronic medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, etc. It has also been associated with increased risk of cancer, inflammatory conditions, and states of hormonal imbalance. Severe obesity can also weaken body’s own immunity, which likely explains the observed high rate of complications with Covid-19 infection.

Excess weight, when in the range of over 80-90 lbs or more, can be extremely resistant to tradition means of weight loss such as dieting and exercise. It does however respond much more favorably to bariatric weight-loss surgery. Bariatric surgery, promotes weight loss by restricting the amount of food your stomach can hold, decreasing hormones that cause hunger, and increasing hormones that cause fullness or satiety. It has been shown to be the only effective treatment option for individuals with severe excess weight, who have not been successful in losing weight through traditional measures like dieting, medications, or exercise.

How do you know if bariatric surgery is the right option for you?

First, you need to meet the criteria for severe excess weight, which include:

  • BMI of 40 or higher
  • BMI of 35-40 with health problems such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure

What is BMI?

Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of weight in relation to height, and is a primary criterion to determine healthy weight:
(Check your BMI here)

  • BMI 18.5 – 24.9 is the normal or healthy weight
  • BMI 25.0 – 29.9 is overweight
  • BMI 30 or more is considered obese.
  • BMI 35 or more is considered morbid or severe obesity.  

You will know that it’s time to consider weight loss surgery when:

  • You have a BMI > 35
  • You are ready to change your lifestyle. This includes eliminating added sugar, excess refined carbohydrates, saturated fats, and incorporating regular exercises.
  • You have developed weight-related health problems such as Diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic back pain, osteoarthritis, or obstructive sleep apnea. Alternatively, you are interested in avoiding these complications.
  • Your quality of life is reduced because of your excess weight.
  • You understand the risks and benefits of the surgery.
  • You are older than 18 years of age.

The most common bariatric procedure is Vertical Sleeve gastrectomy. The procedure helps by limiting food intake. It also helps by improving the metabolic hormones. Additionally, it increases incretins and improves Diabetes. Thanks to its favorable long-term safety profile, Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy is currently the bariatric surgery procedure of choice.