Does the older population qualify?

Gastric Bypass Surgery (GBP) is an umbrella term used for various types of weight loss surgeries—bariatric surgery and bariatric sleeve (sleeve gastrectomy).

Though these are the most common types of weight loss surgery, the sleeve gastrectomy is considered to be a safer and more effective procedure with fewer complications. These procedures make changes to the stomach and digestive system, limiting the amount of food one can eat as well as making sure the body absorbs the necessary nutrients to allow for weight loss.[1]

Is this procedure good for the older population? There is good reason for an older person to be seriously considered for Bariatric surgery—their quality of life can greatly improve as they can move around much more easily, making it easier to walk, exercise, breath, sleep more comfortably and get in an out of a car or rising from a seated position with less difficulty.

Because these surgeries can present several health risks, there is an extensive screening process in order to make sure the patient medically qualifies. In addition, due to the various significant health risks and side effects post surgery, the patients must commit to permanent lifestyle change for the long-term success. Is there a greater risk of suffering from a stroke, heart attack or infection post surgery?  Unless there are other preexisting conditions, the answer is NO. According to researchers, Compared to middle-aged adults, older adults also did not appear to be at any increased risk of having major adverse events, like heart attacks, strokes, and serious infections, after their procedures.[2]

Gastric bypass surgery is not for everyone—as with anything in life, there are no guarantees! This surgery does not necessarily assure that the desired amount of weight loss will be achieved or that the individual will be able to permanently keep the weight off. Lifestyles changes include changes in ones diet and exercise regimen. Typically, patients who have been unsuccessful in losing weight even with diet and exercise, the body mass index (BMI) is higher than 40 or serious health issues have set in, such as Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, with a BMI greater than 35, the person would be considered a good candidate.

The prerequisites to be eligible for the surgery will be doctors’ ability to evaluate the patient’s weight, nutritional, and medical history, age and motivation. However, possibly the most important is if the patient is psychologically prepared for the outcomes and the post surgery lifestyle changes needed.

[1] NCIH


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