Since childhood, I’ve never been overweight or obese. But i have friends who are struggling with obesity. I came across one of them recently and her story was harrowing to say the least. Her obesity epidemic is accompanied by the lagging epidemics of diabetes and heart disease, as well as a raft of other chronic conditions that has seen spending tens of thousands of dollars in seeking treatment over the last couple of years.As my mother told me couple of decades back, prevention is the cornerstone of an individual’s response to the obesity epidemic. Back then, there were few people who were gaining weight compared to the current situation and those I knew as a teenager were already obese facing serious health problems. In the case of my friend, the life of being obese has become unbearable. The most critical issue in developing therapies for obesity is the durability of weight loss and I encouraged her that she can successfully lose weight, but she will need to manage to keep it off for a long time, if not for the rest of her life. Generally, if we are to effectively help those struggling with obesity like my friend, there’s need to evaluate the long-term viability of various therapeutic strategies.Lifestyle changes remain the basis of any effective therapeutic intervention in a chronic disease like obesity.Despite decades old messages about lifestyle changes, most of them have not had the desired effect and more people are now obese or overweight than ever before. Drug therapy for obesity has offered glimmers of hope, and remains a goal for many scientists and physicians.Sadly, the world has seen many promising drug therapies fail to demonstrate a level of weight loss that outweighs the risks of side effects.All is not lost and there’s reason to remain optimistic that further developments will produce drugs that can safely facilitate clinically meaningful weight loss, but the current options available do not result in enough weight loss according to scientific researches that have been conducted in the recent past.
After failing to lose weight with diet, exercise or medication, the final option is surgery and thats what my friend is currently planning. While too expensive, and too resource intensive to be the cure for the high levels of obesity already visible in her, surgery is an excellent therapy for a portion of the people struggling with obesity.This she hopes that other illnesses, known as co-morbidities that affects her will go. Her choice of surgery is Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding which is known to be extremely safe surgery, and is now often performed as a day-stay procedure. She explained to your blogger that the process involves the keyhole placement of an adjustable silicone band around the very top portion of the stomach.This induces a sensation of early satiety and prolonged satiation, which leads to smaller meals being consumed less frequently, thereby reducing the total daily caloric intake. Weight loss achieved with the procedure significantly greater than diet and exercise programmes, bringing with it significant improvement in health and wellbeing. This, she hopes will translates to improved life expectancy for her and economic benefits will be immense since she will be able to save money. She also shared how an expert had offered her an alternative surgical technique, a gastric bypass surgery, but she turned it down because it is more invasive and carries higher risks. It is performed through the keyhole approach and involves dividing the stomach just below the junction of the stomach and the oesophagus thereby creating a small pouch of stomach. According to what she was told, the small intestine is then connected onto this small pouch and the digestive juices from the liver and pancreas are diverted to join the food stream away from the stomach. This means there is only a small volume of stomach to accommodate the meal restricting the size of the meal, and that the duodenum is bypassed, thereby affecting food absorption. In her view, Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding surgery remains the most effective option for treating her obesity even though there is an ongoing debate about the better one of the two major surgical techniques.What i learned by interacting with her is that life for those who are overweight or obese isn’t easy and for her case, no bloke shows interest in her despite being in her late 20s.