Obesity is growing worldwide, including in older adults. It is easier to gain weight and it gets harder to lose weight as we get older.
Weight loss procedures such as gastric sleeve, RNY bypass and banding is an effective solution to obesity. However, these life-changing procedures are generally offered to younger adults.
A new study conducted by the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program intended to show that doesn’t have to be the case. The consensus is that older adults are not physically strong enough to have bariatric and metabolic surgery, even though it would help them fight heart disease and other cardiovascular complications.
It is shown that it is possible for older adults to safely get the surgery for successful weight reduction and enhanced diabetes control.
Age-Related Weight Gain
As we age, diet and exercise are not as effective. There are 5 reasons why we cannot keep our weight in check as our age goes up.
- Decreased lipid turnover in the fat tissues
- Muscle mass loss due to aging
- Hormonal changes
- Slower metabolism
- Major lifestyle changes
Weight Loss Surgery
Gastric sleeve surgery, known as VSG, has shown to be an effective surgical treatment for severe obesity. The stomach volume is reduced laparoscopically in a rather straightforward manner.
The restriction in the stomach helps patients achieve portion control rather easily. They do not get as hungry since the Ghrelin hormones are reduced. Individuals lose extra pounds to get to their ideal weight and keep it off.
Researching the Benefits
This was large research, analyzing 48,000 adults who received a weight loss procedure, either the lap band or gastric bypass procedure. This study lasted for four years, from 2005 to 2009. Every adult in the study had a BMI of 35 or over, putting them in the severely obese category. During the study, 72 people die, but only eight of them were over 65.
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Results of the Study
The first part of this study looked at how many adults over 65 were starting to get bariatric surgery. It founds that the percentage of older adults getting these surgeries was more than doubled than before the study began. They also found that older adults didn’t necessarily have more complications or risk of serious health issues following the procedure. Compared to adults between 30 and 50, there were no more adults over 65 dying during the study than other ages.
The biggest thing to note from this study is that the individual’s health status before surgery made the most significant difference. Researchers wanted to show the benefits to older adults undergoing weight loss surgery and losing 100 pounds or more. It improved their quality of life by reducing illness and giving them a better lifestyle with their loved ones. Physically, they are healthier by losing this amount of weight since just being obese puts you at risk for a long list of medical complications.
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After completing this study, researchers found the risk of death for older adults getting weight loss surgery was no significant. This is especially true since they had such a great outcome with better lifestyles, lower risk of heart disease and diabetes, and better kidney function. As long as the older adult is physically capable of this type of surgery and the work involved afterward, there is no reason why they can’t get a gastric bypass or banding procedure.
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