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Surgical Vs Non- Surgical Management of Obesity

Since obesity can cause many complications, its treatment is of prime concern. Just treatment won't suffice. The normal health condition after the treatment also needs to be managed.

The signs of improvement can be seen just by incorporating more healthy food and introducing activity habits to your life.

The appropriate method of treatment needs to chosen on basis of factors like level of obesity, overall health etc. Consultation with a dietitian shall be helpful in this context. The following are some of the methods for treating obesity:

  • Appropriate changes in diet: The time taken for weight loss through changes in the diet can differ. It is always preferable for a steady weight loss of about 0.5-1kg in a week. This weight loss is considered to be permanent rather than sudden weight loss methods like crash diets. The following are some of the tips that can prove to be useful.
    • Low calorie diet: The main objective is to reduce the calorie consumption in a day. The dietitian shall administer you a personalized diet plan based on your individual nature. On an average, the dietitian may prescribe a plan ranging from 1000 to 1600 calories.
    • Feeling full on less: Energy density of different food items may differ. Certain food are rich in calories like candies, desserts etc. Natural food items on the other hand relatively less energy density. Therefore, even the amount consumed by these food items is high, the calorie intake happens to be only moderate. The person can consume more amount of food, without the fear of taking in more calories. Even a bit of calorie-rich food can equalize the large amount of vegetables & fruits. Through this, hunger panks can be quenched.
    • Meal replacements: Mid-day meals happen to the most calorie-rich food intake of day. Substituting the heavy meal with a subsequently lower calorie snacks can help to reduce the weight considerably.
  • Activity & exercise: Boosting the level of activity is very essential in reducing the weight. An increased level of activity can lead to more calorie burn-up. The fat accumulation under the layers of skin decreases step-by-step, leading to weight loss. In addition, adding simple changes to your lifestyle can increase the calorie burn up of a day. One of these procedures includes choosing to walk the steps instead of taking the lift. The exercise should not be done all of a sudden but should be split up into schedules. This shall provide for adequate time for rest.
  • Medications for weight loss: Several medications are available in the market for reducing obesity. There are currently over 120 different medicines for treating this condition. The following are some of them:
    • Orlistat: This commonly used medicine is prescribed only for the cases where the body mass index is more than 28. A certain type of protein is used for digesting fat. This medicine acts by blocking the action of the protein. The fat is not absorbed and hence it is excreted out of the body. Orlistat can remove 1/3rd of the excess fat from the food that is consumed.

Although the medicine can avoid gaining weight, it does not reduce the current weight. Hence, it becomes essential to have regular diet plans.

Orlistat is commonly administered along with meals. If the meal is skipped or if the meal is of very-low calorie content, there is no need for the intake of this capsule.

Lorcaserin: This is generally a medicine that is administered for long term weight loss. When this medication is taken in, the capsule contents modify the chemicals in the brain that further changes in sensation of hunger. Therefore, the individual may feel the sensation of a full stomach although he/she have consumed only less.

For certain persons, intake of this medicine shall not result in weight loss even after 12 weeks. In this condition, the medicine should be stopped. Consultation with the doctor is essential in this case.

Many side-effects are associated with this medicine. They include dizziness, headache, dry mouth, nausea etc. Severe side-effects can also be experienced like suicidal tendencies, neuro-chemical imbalance, comprehension and memory problems like.

Qsymia: Chemically referred to as Phentermine-topiramate, this is also a drug that is prescribed for long-term weight loss. Topiramate is a drug that is used for the control of seizures. On the other hand, phentermine is a substance that is used for short-term weight loss. It is observed that a loss of almost 3% of body weight can be achieved by using this medicine. If this is not achieved within the prescribed time, the usage has to be terminated.

As in any allopathic medicine, side-effects are there for this medicine also. Increase in the heart rate, insomnia, constipation, dry mouth can be experienced. Serious side-effects are rarely pronounced, and they can be vision changes, sleep disorders, memory issues etc.

There are many over-the-counter products available in the market. However, they are considered as only dietary supplements. Some of them are as follows:

  • Ephedra: Also known as ma huang, this is obtained from plants. The main ingredient in this supplement is ephedrine. The medicine can result in weight loss for a short period but it has several side effects.
  • Hoodia: This substance is used for suppressing the hunger. Hoodia is form of cactus found in Africa. Evidence as to how the substance works in not very clear.
  • Diuretics & herbal laxatives: These substances assist in loosing water. They do not lower the fat level. Significant lowering of the potassium levels result by their consumption.

Surgeries for weight loss: Weight loss surgeries are commonly administered for treating persons with a BMI of more than 40 or for those who have a BMI of more than 35 along with a life threatening situations like cardiomyopathic conditions related to obesity, severe sleep apnea etc.

The surgeries that are commonly performed include gastric bypass surgery, laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, gastric sleeve, biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch etc.