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Obesity On The Rise In Punjab, Particularly In Ludhiana: Is Bariatric Surgery A Safe Option To Lose Weight?

Punjab has the highest obesity rate in India. More than 45 per cent of Ludhiana women in the 15-49 age group are obese or overweight.

Obesity is on the rise around the world, thanks to sedentary lifestyles, junk food consumption, lack of exercise, and increasing time spent on mobile devices. Obesity is also one of the most prevalent health problems in India, specially in the state of Punjab. It is estimated that two-fifths of Punjabis are overweight or obese. According to the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5), the number of obese people is increasing in Punjab, particularly in Ludhiana. The survey revealed that 45.1 per cent of women in the 15-49 age group in Ludhiana are obese or overweight.

Many diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, snoring, fatty liver, gastric reflux, knee pain, and other respiratory issues are directly linked to obesity. The rising prevalence of obesity is also blamed for an increase in infertility in both men and women. Being obese can also cause depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

Who should go for bariatric weight loss surgery?

A healthy lifestyle is important to keep your weight under control and maintain good health. However, those who have tried and failed to lose weight and are on the verge of losing their lives due to obesity can opt for weight loss surgery.

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Patients with a BMI of more than 32.5kg/m 2 qualify for weight loss surgery, said Dr. Amit Bhambri, Bariatric & Metabolic Surgeon, SPS hospital, Ludhiana, Punjab.

He added, "Bariatric surgery, which includes gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy with other weight-loss procedures, involves altering the digestive system to aid weight loss and also improve body's metabolism. When diet and exercise haven't worked or you're having serious health issues as a result of your weight, bariatric surgery may be necessary. Any overweight person can opt for it because it is a very safe procedure."

How bariatric surgery is performed?

Bariatric surgery is painless as it is performed laparoscopically (without an incision). Within 4-5 hours of surgery, the patient begins to walk and within 8-10 hours of surgery, the patient begins to accept a liquid diet orally. Rather than being a cosmetic procedure, it is a life-changing and life-saving procedure. Within a few months, the patient loses 60-70 percent of his excess body weight.

Dr.Bhambri described how bariatric surgery saved the life of one of his patients who was suffering from morbid obesity and was on the verge of death. For the past 10 years, the patient has been unable to walk due to cardiac and pulmonary issues. She was also put on a ventilator several times and was completely reliant on a CPAP machine. Bariatric surgery saved her life and now she is living a normal life, he said.

Benefits of bariatric surgery

According to Dr.Bhambri, long-term weight loss is possible with bariatric surgeries, but the amount of weight loss is determined by the type of surgery and the lifestyle changes made.

He stated, "Within two years, you may be able to lose half of your excess weight, if not more. In addition to weight loss, bariatric surgery may help to improve or resolve conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea, Type 2 diabetes, and even osteoarthritis (joint pain), which are all linked to being overweight. It can also improve one's ability to perform daily tasks, potentially improving one's quality of life."

Dr.Bhambri advises people to adopt a healthy lifestyle in order to get rid of obesity and other related ailments. This includes eating healthily, avoiding junk food, exercising on a daily basis, going for walks, and generally abandoning a sedentary lifestyle. Those who have been unable to lose weight must seek medical advice for bariatric surgery.

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