Obesity is a condition that seems to be on the rise. It’s everywhere we look, it’s in our conversations and it’s no secret that many of us have tried countless weight loss solutions with little success. But there are options available – from diet and exercise to bariatric surgery or even implantable devices – so how do you decide which one is right for you?
- Four million people die each year as a result of obesity, according to the World Health Organization (WHO)
- Worldwide, more than 1 billion people are obesity—650 million adults, 340 million adolescents, and 39 million children, according to WHO
- The World Obesity Federation predicts that by 2030, one in five women and one in seven men will have obesity
- Obesity is linked to 30% to 53% of new diabetes cases in the U.S. every year, per research in the Journal of the American Heart Association
Obesity caused by consuming calories above normal biological requirements is a major risk factor for a wide range of long-term health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease, gallbladder disease, certain cancers, musculoskeletal disorders, and even genetic variation.
In this article, we will delve into the advantages and disadvantages of each weight loss option out there, allowing readers to make an informed decision on their path toward improved health.
Obesity, a condition of having an abundance of body fat has become an increasingly prevalent health concern around the world. It increases one’s risk of developing chronic illnesses including hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
Causes of Obesity
- An average physically active man needs about 2,500 calories daily to maintain a healthy weight, and the average physically active woman needs about 2,000 calories daily. Taking calories excess to the prescribed level can lead to obesity
- Eating large amounts of processed or fast food – this is food that’s high in fat and sugar
- Drinking too much alcohol – alcohol contains a lot of calories
- Eating out a lot – food cooked in a restaurant may be higher in fat and sugar
- Eating larger portions than you need
- Drinking too many sugary drinks – including soft drinks and fruit juice
- Lack of physical activity is another important factor related to obesity
- In some people, genes can affect how their bodies change food into energy and store fat. Genes can also affect people’s lifestyle choices.
- An underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) – where your thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones
- Cushing’s syndrome – a rare disorder that causes the over-production of steroid hormones
- Certain medicines, including some steroids, medications for epilepsy and diabetes, and some medications used to treat mental illness – including some antidepressants and medicines for schizophrenia – can contribute to weight gain.
To combat or control obesity it is important to stay active as well as adhere to healthy eating habits that limit high-calorie food items and sugary treats. Additionally refraining from smoking is crucial in reducing the chances of becoming obese while simultaneously promoting overall good health.
In more extreme cases people may need professional help when managing their weight issues but usually staying conscious about caloric intake paired with regular exercise will suffice in keeping obesity at bay.
Weight loss surgery has become a popular choice for those wanting to slim down. Bariatric surgery is a procedure that reduces the amount of food that can be consumed by creating a small pouch in the stomach or bypassing part of the digestive system. The device used during this procedure allows individuals to feel fuller after eating smaller portions.
Following bariatric surgery, patients must adhere to an appropriate diet and exercise routine to maximize its effects.
Gastric sleeve surgery, known as vertical sleeve gastrectomy, involves the removal of a significant portion of your stomach, leaving behind a banana-shaped segment sealed with staples. This procedure decreases the stomach’s capacity, leading to an earlier sensation of fullness.
Additionally, the removal of a portion of the stomach can impact hormones and gut bacteria that influence appetite and metabolism. It’s essential to note that this surgical procedure is irreversible as it involves the permanent removal of part of the stomach.
Gastric bypass surgery, also known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, is a three-step procedure. Initially, the surgeon uses staples to create a small pouch in the upper part of your stomach, significantly reducing its size. This leads to early satiety, making you consume less food.
Following that, the surgeon splits your small intestine into two segments and connects the lower portion directly to the small stomach pouch. This reroutes food, causing it to bypass a substantial part of your stomach and the upper section of the small intestine, resulting in the absorption of fewer calories.
Subsequently, the surgeon reconnects the upper part of the small intestine to a new location further down on the lower section of the small intestine. This enables digestive juices from the bypassed section of the small intestine to mix with food for complete digestion.
The bypass also induces changes in hormones, gut bacteria, and other substances within the gastrointestinal system that can impact appetite and metabolism. It’s important to note that reversing gastric bypass is challenging but may be considered under specific medical circumstances.
Adjustable gastric band
In this surgical procedure, a surgeon encircles the top of your stomach with a ring featuring an inflatable inner band, creating a small pouch. This gastric band induces a sensation of fullness after consuming a small amount of food.
Following the surgery, multiple follow-up appointments are necessary to fine-tune the band’s opening size.
Gastric band surgery typically results in significantly less weight loss and is linked to more complications, mainly necessitating the removal of the band due to intolerance.
Implantable Tools for Weight Loss
The future of implantable medical devices for obesity treatment is looking bright. While the technology involved might seem perplexing at first, these tools are quite simple and capable of helping individuals manage their weight effectively.
With intuitive mobile applications and remote monitoring by healthcare professionals, patients can now easily access a range of implantable solutions designed to provide maximum comfort and convenience.
Here are some of the Implantable Devices for Weight Loss:
|Device||Configuration||Proposed mechanism of action|
|Intragastric balloon||Endoscopically placed fluid- or air-filled balloon||Restrictive, space-occupying effects causing early satiety and subsequent reduced food intake|
|Aspire Assist||Endoscopically placed silicone percutaneous gastrostomy tube||Aspirating gastric contents reduce the volume of food being transferred to the small intestine subsequently leading to weight loss|
|Endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG): Overstitch||Endoscopic suturing system creating a gastric pouch or sleeve||Reducing gastric capacity|
The intragastric balloon (IGB) is a weight-loss treatment that works primarily by taking up space in the stomach, which causes early fullness and overall lower food consumption. It has great data-measuring efficacy and safety profiles because it has been used to manage obesity since 1985.
With FDA or European approval, numerous balloons are in use, made of everything from silicone polymers to gelatin capsules. The deflated balloons are placed endoscopically while the patient is sedated. Depending on the device, they may then be inflated with up to 500 ml of saline or occasionally with air and left in place for six months.
Indications for an IGB are for weight loss in patients with a BMI > 35 kg/m2 who have failed lifestyle measures, pharmacotherapy or for whom bariatric surgery is contraindicated. IGB may also be used to aid weight loss prior to bariatric surgery to reduce intraoperative risk.
Aspiration therapy (AT) uses the AspireAssist® device which consists of a large-bore percutaneous gastrostomy tube, skin port, and attachable drainage system with remote control.
Similar to a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy, the gastrostomy tube is inserted endoscopically while the patient is sedated. However, the gastrostomy tube functions in reverse, allowing for the removal of about 30% of the gastric contents after meals when the drainage system is connected to the gastrostomy tube via a skin port.
In order to aspirate fluids containing food particles through the gastrostomy tube, aspiration is carried out 20 minutes after a meal through cycles of irrigation of water into the stomach.
AT is a highly effective and durable method of weight loss that is simple to install and remove. Unlike bariatric surgery, there are few comorbidities that limit candidates for device insertion, although its efficacy depends on user adherence to regular measures such as thorough chewing of food before ingestion.
The Apollo Surgery Overstitch device, which is connected to the end of an endoscope to enable full-thickness continuous suturing, is used in endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty.
It takes around 45 minutes to deploy a sequence of sutures from the stomach’s base to the gastro-oesophageal junction, creating a gastric pouch or sleeve that causes the stomach’s size to decrease.
This mimics the anatomical changes of laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG) which is the most commonly performed bariatric surgery.
The Great Debate: Surgery vs. Implantable Tools
Treatment strategies for obesity can be found in two different camps: surgery and implantable tools. Surgery is a long-standing method for treating obesity, but implanting tools into the body to manage weight has become increasingly popular.
Those who favour the surgical option assert that it is the speediest means of drastically reducing one’s weight in a relatively short space of time; additionally, they suggest that it deals with most health problems resulting from being overweight such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Conversely, those who advocate for implanted devices posit that surgery is an intrusive procedure which carries many risks. They raise awareness about potential complications and lengthy periods of painful recovery, arguing instead that implanted tools provide an ongoing regulated way to sustainably maintain one’s lost weight over a longer duration; whereas surgery may lead to relapse if not properly accompanied by dieting and exercise routines.
Ultimately, when deciding upon the ideal approach to reduce obesity levels it must depend on individual needs and goals.
Obesity is a pressing concern for global health and well-being. To address it, surgical weight loss and implantable tools offer potential solutions to those striving for healthier body weight.
While surgical methods may come with common side effects such as infection or other complications, implantable devices have the appeal of bringing about weight loss without surgery’s associated risks.
It is difficult to say which option is best due to individual circumstances; each has its unique advantages and drawbacks depending on one’s lifestyle and health conditions. Therefore, it is important to consider all the benefits and risks before making a decision.