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Obesity contributes to a range of medical problems, including hypertension, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnoea, infertility, depression and osteoarthritis. On this page, we explain the most important reasons why patients choose bariatric surgery.

High blood pressure is a reason for bariatric surgery

Hypertension and obesity

Hypertension and obesity are often connected. Hypertension is a condition in which the force of the blood against the artery walls is too high. High blood pressure can be a major contributor to early deaths and is most often caused by a narrowing of the arteries.

How are hypertension and obesity linked?

People with a very high BMI, diagnosed as obese, tend to have higher blood pressure. Often factors including problems with sleep apnoea, and diabetes will cause hypertension to progress. Hypertension can also be aggravated by smoking, poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle and alcohol. Long-term studies in Sweden have shown that obesity or metabolic surgery, and the weight loss that follows surgery, can cause a healthy drop in blood pressure.

Hypertension and obesity surgery: Figures

Gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy surgery can be effective in reducing hypertension. A large review of patients who underwent sleeve gastrectomy has shown resolution or improvement in hypertension in the majority of cases. Unfortunately, if you have had hypertension for more than 10 years it appears less likely to resolve after obesity surgery.

Contributing factors

Poor sleep and high-sodium diets can further contribute to hypertension. Weight loss by all methods (surgical or non-surgical) is one of the single most effective treatments for most cases of sleep apnoea and hypertension. And, with gastric bypass surgery in particular, studies show more salt is eliminated from the body and this additionally lowers blood pressure.
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Infertility is a reason for bariatric surgery

Infertility and obesity

Infertility and obesity can be connected. Infertility is defined as the inability to naturally become pregnant within 12 months of regularly trying to conceive. Obesity is a major contributor to infertility in men and women during the childbearing years. In couples where one or both partners are obese, infertility can also be associated with Type 2 Diabetes, sleep irregularities, hypertension, and high blood pressure.

Infertility and obesity in women

Infertility and obesity for women are definitely linked but the process is a bit more complicated. Most studies show obesity compounds the cycle of infertility problems. An overweight or obese woman with a BMI 30-40 may have the following problems:

  • No ovulation
  • Too few ovulations
  • Ovulations on an irregular schedule
  • No periods or excessive bleeding during a period

A notable percentage of obese women can also experience a significant cycle of weight gain caused by Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS symptoms are aggravated by obesity.

Infertility and obesity in men

Obese men can have a lower sperm count or have poor quality sperm. Fat tissue can convert available testosterone into oestrogen. Obesity can cause a drop in testosterone levels and result in erectile dysfunction. Obesity can also lead to a higher body temperature around the testicles limiting the production of healthy sperm cells.

Data on Infertility and Obesity Surgery

In both women and men of childbearing age, bariatric or obesity surgery has been shown in many studies to improve fertility, but may not guarantee a pregnancy. Some studies have shown that Type 2 Diabetes may be a catalyst for infertility. Resistance to insulin may also be related to chemical problems with sex hormone receptors. Women, in particular, were most likely to experience a beneficial change in their ovulation and a healthy menstrual cycle from the weight loss that follows bariatric surgery.

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Diabetes is a reason for bariatric surgery

Type 2 diabetes and obesity

Type 2 diabetes and obesity are often related. Type 2 Diabetes occurs when the body cannot maintain a healthy balance in blood sugar. Many people with this condition end up with high blood sugar. High blood sugar damages the cells in the body, especially in the cardiovascular system. A person with Type 2 diabetes is prone to hypertension (high blood pressure), cardiovascular diseases, and circulation problems.

How are type 2 diabetes and obesity related?

The most common cause of type 2 diabetes is obesity. The presence of a large amount of fat causes the body to not use the insulin secreted by the pancreas. A series of chemical reactions that should happen after eating does not occur at the correct levels. The chemical sensors in cells do not respond or over-respond. Some people’s liver will release stored glucose into the blood instead of absorbing available glucose which further compounds the imbalance. The result is swinging between extremes of high and low blood sugar.

Diabetes symptoms and obesity

Weight loss can reverse many of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Bariatric surgery is often recommended as a long-term control for people with a BMI greater than 35. Many people who are controlling their blood sugar with medications and injections may find that they no longer need their medications after losing weight.

Type 2 diabetes and obesity surgery data

There has been good evidence showing the resolution of diabetes with obesity surgery over the last 10 years. Diabetes-related morbidity and mortality have also been reduced after bariatric or metabolic surgery and it appears the improvement in diabetic control is long-lasting.

Gastric bypass procedures such as the Roux-en-Y bypass have been shown to be particularly effective for the remission of diabetes. Sleeve gastrectomy is also very effective. Many patients will notice a reduction in their diabetic medications very quickly after surgery, even before they lose weight.

Surgery appears to work much better than diet and lifestyle interventions to help diabetics. The failure rate of those programs is around 95% at 1 year. If you are troubled with diabetes you may want to consider surgical options.

Sleep apnoea is a reason for bariatric surgery

Sleep apnoea and obesity

Sleep apnoea and obesity often go together. Sleep apnoea occurs when a person stops and starts breathing when asleep. It is most often due to loose tissue in the throat or mouth blocking the airway. You should be aware that there is a less common form of sleep apnoea where the brain does not send the proper signals to maintain breathing. Very often there is a strong connection between sleep apnoea and obesity and it can be one of the reasons for considering obesity surgery.

More than 1 million adults in Australia probably have significant sleep apnoea. It is primarily caused by the throat muscles relaxing and the walls of the throat collapsing over the airway. Obesity causes a build-up of fat in the neck area which causes or worsens sleep apnoea. Obesity is the commonest cause of sleep apnoea. Symptoms include:

  • Loud snoring or stopping breathing
  • Snorting or choking sounds
  • Drowsiness during the day
  • Difficulty concentrating when awake

Sleep apnoea and obesity surgery data

Studies have shown that bariatric surgery is effective in improving sleep, by reducing the width of the excessive tissue in the neck and torso. Weight loss also helps heart and lung function further improving a person’s deep sleep.

Poor sleep is a measurable contributor to depression, stroke, arterial disease, and even motor vehicle accidents.

Research on sleep apnoea and obesity surgery

Data in medical literature shows patients usually notice rapid improvement in their sleep apnoea symptoms after obesity or bariatric surgery. Even a modest weight loss of 10-20% has been shown to reduce sleep apnoea scores. Remember though that not all causes of sleep apnoea are related to obesity. Sometimes patients will notice a marked improvement clinically but will still need to use their CPAP machines. Often we will organise sleep studies for high-risk patients both pre and post-surgery.

Negative self-image is a reason for bariatric surgery

Depression & self-image

Studies have shown that obese people are about 25% more likely to experience a mood disorder like depression compared with those who are not obese.

If one of your reasons for bariatric surgery is linked to self-esteem and your self-image or depression issues then obesity surgery may be beneficial. Most studies have shown a significant benefit in terms of depression scores after surgery. Many patients will ultimately end up getting off their depression medications.

List of reasons for weight loss surgery

Other reasons for bariatric surgery

Other reasons for bariatric surgery can be mobility problems due to:

  • Advanced osteoarthritis (excessive wear) and rheumatoid (autoimmune driven) arthritis
  • Back and spine conditions, deterioration and injuries
  • Legs are severely swollen with fluid
  • Sores and ulcers, especially of the feet and limbs

Bariatric surgery and the weight loss that follows leads to independent mobility for at least 60% of the people who were wheelchair-bound due to these conditions. Most achieve improved mobility between 1.5 to 2 years after surgery.

At Advance Surgical, Mr Jon Armstrong and the team help people who want to lose weight through bariatric surgery, suffer from an endocrine disorder or need general surgery.

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Established in 2005

When we established Advance Surgical our motivation was to help those who find that diet and exercise are simply not working for them.

The cost of bariatric surgery

We understand the cost of bariatric surgery may be an issue. We have changed our pricing to be more affordable. Payment plans available.

Team of specialists

Mr Jon Armstrong, Medical Director and Founder alongside the team at Advance Surgical, have helped thousands of people in Perth.