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Obesity is a common and serious condition. It invites several medical conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Bariatric surgery has recently emerged as a treatment option for obesity due to its effectiveness in managing this condition. Several studies concluded that reducing obesity through bariatric surgery lowers the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. However, bariatric surgery is not a 'quick-fix' method to treat obesity. It is just a process in the long journey for preventing weight gain.
It is critical to lead a healthy life and strictly follow all the instructions of the doctor to avoid weight gain and recurrence of medical conditions. In addition, patients must follow specific measures in daily life to ensure the best outcome from bariatric surgery.
During bariatric surgery, the doctor reduces a person's capacity to eat. However, there is no reduction in the requirement of the body. Thus, it is necessary to have a healthy diet. Within the 12 months after the surgery, the patient should take below 900 calories per day. Incorporate protein-rich foods such as cottage cheese, tofu, seafood, poultry, tuna, and yogurt. The patient should make a goal of around 65 to 70 grams protein per day. Some of the eating tips that may be of help are:
As there is a decrease in the size of the stomach, people having bariatric surgery are at risk of developing nutritional deficiencies. Therefore, the patient is prescribed with vitamin and mineral supplements to prevent deficiency. The vitamins include vitamin D, vitamin B12, and folic acid. In addition, the patient should also take minerals like calcium, iron, copper, zinc, and selenium.
The patient is also prescribed several drugs after bariatric surgery. The patient needs to take medicines that reduce the risk of ulcers and the formation of gallstones. The doctor may allow resuming current medications. After bariatric surgery, the stomach may not effectively absorb certain drugs. The doctor may provide a suitable alternative for such medicines. Always take advice from the doctor before starting any new medication.
The patients should walk for a few minutes in the morning and afternoon. Gradually, there should be an increase in the time till it reaches 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening. The patients should also undergo resistance training, cardio activity, and aerobic exercises. The patient may also have jogging, stationary bike riding, and swimming. A person after bariatric surgery must exercise for at least 30 minutes a day four to five times a week.
The patient must quit smoking before and after the bariatric surgery. Smoking before bariatric surgery may slow the healing. Hence, the patient is advised not to consume alcohol after the surgery. Consuming alcohol after bariatric surgery may result in severe complications as they may have a high concentration of alcohol in the system after the surgery.
It is best for patients to avoid pregnancy at least two years after the bariatric surgery. This is because the nutritional deficiency in the mother after bariatric surgery may cause severe birth defects in the fetus and may also result in pregnancy complications.
Every patient has their own capacity to recover. The patients require two weeks to recover in most cases. Complete recovery along with previous strength may usually take around six weeks.
The patient must incorporate life-long alterations in his lifestyle. The commitment towards a healthy life will ensure the maintenance of weight loss after bariatric surgery. The patient should regularly monitor the weight and engage with the support group.
Several researchers have studied the long-term implications of bariatric surgery a healthy lifestyle coupled with dietary control results in effectively managing diabetes, hypertension, and dyslipidemia.
(This article is authored by Dr G Moinoddin, Consultant Bariatric and Advanced Laparoscopic Surgeon, Manipal Hospital, Millers Road, Bengaluru)
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