Surprising Benefits of Weight Loss Surgery
Obesity is an American epidemic. More than 72 million people are classified as obese (body mass index of 30+) in the U.S. To make matters worse, morbid obesity (body mass index of 40+) rates continue to rise. Given the serious health implications associated with obesity (heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, etc.), it’s no wonder so many people are looking at new ways to shed some weight.
Dieting and exercise are the healthiest options for losing weight, but when it comes to dramatic weight loss, lifestyle and dietary changes are sometimes not enough. Weight loss surgeries have become increasingly popular because they make it easier for obese people to jumpstart successful lifestyle and dietary changes that can dramatically improve quality of life. But losing weight is just the tip of the iceberg.
Here are seven surprising benefits of weight loss surgery.
1. Fewer Allergies and Asthma Symptoms
Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control have linked obesity with allergies and asthma symptoms. Immunoglobulin E (IgE) serves as an indicator for allergic activity in the body. The study measured increased IgE levels in children, making them more susceptible to allergies (particularly food-based allergies). Obesity increases systemic inflammation and the likelihood of respiratory stress which can not only exacerbate asthma symptoms, but also increase the likelihood of developing asthma.
2. Glowing Skin
Obesity (especially the morbid variety) has a direct impact on skin health in a number of ways. Stretch marks, varicose veins, skin tags, darkened skin patches and skin infections are common among obese people. Blood circulation to the skin is altered by higher-than-normal levels of subcutaneous fat. Excess sweating can occur, the skin can dry out and cause psoriasis, and collagen production can be impeded.
Shedding the excess weight can dramatically improve the skin’s appearance, helping you look more vital and youthful.
3. Better Mood
According to the Obesity Action Coalition, depression and weight gain go hand-in-hand, with obese people being 20 percent more likely to feel depressed. But does depression cause weight gain, or does weight gain cause depression? Both, actually. Depression leads to a lack of activity and potential binge eating. Obesity affects self-esteem which can lead to depression.
By losing weight, you are helping to restore the natural balance of the body, which has a hormonal ripple effect that can drastically improve mood.
4. Arthritis Relief
Arthritis is an inflammatory condition, so it stands to reason that the inflammation associated with obesity can impact arthritic conditions. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis. It occurs when the cartilage at the end of bones breaks down. Although this can occur naturally with age, excess weight further taxes the joints and wears down cartilage quicker. According to the Arthritis Foundation, every pound of excess weight results in an additional four pounds of added pressure on the knees. By dropping weight, you relieve the added stress and diminish the potential for arthritic problems.
5. Better Memory
Studies have linked obesity and high blood pressure with loss of memory and cognitive skills in people aged 50 and over. Researchers at University College London found that obese people lost their mental powers faster than thinner people. Other studies also determined that obese people who underwent bariatric surgery achieved improved memory 12 weeks after the fact.
It is also believed that middle-aged obesity heightens the risk for dementia later in life.
6. Better Sleep
Skyrocketing rates of obesity have been linked with an increase in the number of sleep apnea cases in the U.S. Sleep apnea causes breathing abnormalities that disrupt sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can increase your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and more. Excess weight in the neck and trunk area can put stress on the respiratory system and cause sleep apnea.