If this is your case, the first thing we would like to tell you with certainty is that you are not alone, since undergoing a surgical procedure certainly entails risks that are not easy to swallow for anyone. We could actually say that there is no patient that is about to have elective surgery or has undergone surgery that has not had doubts about his/her decision due to fear that something could go wrong.
I tell my patients just before they go into the operating room that it is completely normal and expected to feel some anxiety or fear, and not having these sensation, that would actually be abnormal.
It is normal to have fear when in the verge of a weight loss procedure
So let's start by making it clear that you are in your right to be afraid of gastric sleeve surgery or any other bariatric procedure you are considering. Fear is something normal and part of the human nature as it is a crucial defense mechanism for the survival of our species. However on many occasions these fears are unfounded or exaggerated by lack of knowledge or by having the incorrect information source. Fear of the unknown is very common, which is why the best thing you can do to help decrease this sensation is to inform yourself as much as possible about the bariatric surgery of your interest and what better than doing it consulting it with an expert in the topic.
Family member’s, friend’s or acquaintance’s opinions, should be taken into account definitely, but they should not be the basis for decision making of the patient. As an adult you are free to choose and decide what you consider what is best for you, your quality of life and your health. You must take into account that no one in the world feels and knows what you and no one else is going through in the fight against obesity, the terrible stigmas and related diseases that progressively deteriorate your health.
It is very difficult for us to understand how some potential patients contact us interested in obtaining more information on gastric sleeve surgery as an option for the treatment of their diseases, (which include in the vast majority of cases and for obvious reasons obesity, but In many cases accompanied by other very debilitating and risky diseases such as sleep apnea, diabetes mellitus (Type 2 diabetes), hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, etc.) and end up choosing not to undergo any type of surgery for fear of a complication, but it is even more difficult to understand that they abandon the idea for fear of what “they will say” (close family or even friends), it is incredible to see how in these times there is still so much disinformation in relation to obesity and all the factors involved in its development and predominance in multiple areas of the planet.
Unfortunately, there are still those who blame it only the lack of willpower and poor diet choices as the main or only cause of a person's failure to lose weight. The reality is that there are a whole series of external but mainly internal factors that cause this problem and makes it very difficult for some patients to achieve their goals without a real aid such as weight loss surgery. As always trying to be very direct, definitely as a patient you play the main role in the success or failure of your bariatric surgery based on your actions and decisions after having it done.
The above mentioned takes weight when those people who suffer from obesity, have tried everything they know in their surroundings to lose weight and have unsuccessful, these type of patients, with obesity alone or accompanied by hypertension, diabetes or any another associated disease who would be missing an excellent opportunity to give a 180 degree turn to their lives not only from the emotional and aesthetic point of view but mainly from the health point of view with a huge improvement in their and quality of life, all this, for fear of their own or transmitted by the people around you.
The main reasons to decide not having a gastric sleeve surgery
Having said this, you should be realistic and objective to place into context your fears on weight loss surgery as a really valid reason to decide not to change radically your life in a favourable way.
We show you next some of the questions/reasons by which the patient tend to have fear to gastric sleeve surgery:
- I won’t be able to eat what I love anymore
- I won’t enjoy my meals because they will taste gross
- I am going to develop “saggy” skin
- I going to be bald
- Surgery will hurt too much
- My stomach won’t ever be the same
- Not having my normal stomach will affect me when I get older
- I won’t be able to receive treatments if I get sick
- I won’t be able to have tests done if I get sick
- I won’t have enough energy
- I am going to develop malnutrition
- I am going to have scars in my abdomen
- My diabetes won’t get cured
- My high blood pressure won’t get cured
- I have diabetes and or high blood pressure so I am at a higher risk during surgery
- I have diabetes and or high blood pressure so I am not a good candidate for surgery
- I won’t wake up from the anesthesia
- I am getting general anesthesia and it is more dangerous
- I am going to develop a complication from my surgery
- I am going to die if I have weight loss surgery
Each one of these explanations/excuses gives us material for a long conversation in separate topics, but we will limit in this article to say in an absolut and forthright way that these fears are unfounded and without a real base that guarantees them or simply minor consequences that are completely worth considering the benefits (for example, the small scars from the abdominal incisions).
Now let's see some very well founded statistics about the risks a person goes through when having moderate and severe obesity, as well as the risks of having diabetes, high blood pressure and another uncontrolled diseases.
Obesity in numbers
According to the National Institutes of Health, obesity and overweight together are the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States, close behind tobacco use An estimated 300,000 deaths per year are due to the obesity epidemic.
The lowest mortality rates from all causes were found among study subjects having a BMI of between 23.5-24.9 for men and 22.0-23.4 for women (these are normal BMI’S) Check your BMI here. The risk of mortality increased with increasing BMI at all ages and for all categories of death. The strongest association between obesity and death from all causes was found among study subjects who had never smoked and had no history of disease, with the highest rates among the heaviest men and women, i.e., those with a BMI of 40+
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Diabetes and Obesity
Diabetes in a serious life-threatening disease, which has reached epidemic proportions in the US with about 26 million adults and children living with the disease in recent years.
- Some 79 million people are prediabetic, putting them at a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The total cost of $ 176 billion for hospital and emergency treatment, medical visits and medications tells us how limiting this disease is for the taking into account that indirectly approximately 70 billion dollars are lost due to absenteeism at work, abstention, reduced productivity, unemployment and disability related to the disease, as well as loss of productivity due to premature death.
- According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) the expense in a diabetic’s health is 2.3 times higher than in a non diabetic.
Diabetes incidence, prevalence and mortality
Globally it is estimated that in 2014 there were 422 million adult diabetics compared to 108 million in 1980. The overall prevalence of diabetes then has almost doubled since that date, rising from 4.7% to 8.5% in the adult population. This reflects an increase in associated risk factors such as overweight and obesity (which are considered the strongest risk factors for type 2 diabetes).
In 2012 diabetes caused the death of 1.5 million people; The death of 2.2 million people with glucose above optimal levels with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and other diseases. Around 43% of these 3.7 million deaths occurred in people under the age of 70.
Diabetes of any type (1 or 2) is closely related to complications in virtually all organs and systems of the human body, such complications include heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, respiratory, gastrointestinal and skin infections, Skin ulcers, limb amputation, blindness and nerve damage. During pregnancy, poorly controlled diabetes increases the risk of stillbirth and other complications.
High Blood Pressure
According to research by the World Health Organization (WHO) in November 2016, the number of people with hypertension has doubled since 1973 reaching almost 1.13 billion people with this disease.
High blood pressure is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and stroke and is a treatable and preventable disease in many cases, health systems must adapt and seek measures to better control this disease. We do not doubt that in a few years, just as weight loss surgery is already considered as a line of treatment for diabetes, sooner or later it will be for the control or remission of hypertension.
Mortality due to high blood pressure
Although there is no exact figure on mortality caused directly by suffering from hypertension, the following data will give you a perspective of its relevance, as we know that it is one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular disease. In turn it is well known that cardiovascular diseases (heart attack, stroke, peripheral arterial disease, etc.). Are the number one cause of deaths worldwide. There is nothing in the world that causes more deaths per year than cardiovascular disease.
An estimated 17.5 million people died from cardiovascular disease in 2012, accounting for 31% of global deaths from any cause, of which 7.4 million were estimated to be from coronary heart disease (heart attack) and 6.7 million due and strokes, the rest is not specified.
As for obesity related diseases to and its risks we have developed a short article on this, in due time we will focus individually on each of the diseases in question or at least the most frequent, relevant and risky for the health. We invite you to read our post on obesity related diseases.
Sleep apnea and Obesity
Speaking of another disease closely related to obesity we have this condition that is much less known than the previous two, however is also of great importance for the detriment to health that causes if untreated.
This disease comprises inadvertent pauses in the breathing of a patient during sleep, such pauses in the normal breathing cycle can last from a few seconds to even minutes, they can occur more than 30 times in a period of one hour and typically breathing is spontaneously resumed accompanied by an intense and deep snore or choking sound.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
- Dry mouth sensation or irritated throat when awakening
- Insomnia, frequent nocturnal awakenings, unrefreshing sleep
- Using the restroom frequently at night
- Lack of memory and concentration
- Bad mood, depression, irritability
- Morning headache
- Extreme sleepiness and tiredness during the day
Among the main causes of this disease is overweight and obesity, a situation whereby it takes importance when considering that obesity surgery will almost certainly lead to the cure of this problem and if not, at least much less severe and easier to treat.
Some numbers related to sleep apnea worldwide
- Sleep apnea increases heart attack risk 4 to 5 times.
- Increases sudden death risk in 30% aproximately.
- Sleep apnea is associated with deadly accidents since it induces intense sleepiness even during activities such as manipulation of heavy machinery or vehicles.
All this in just a period of disease of 5 years!
In conclusion the tests related to sleep apnea have demonstrated that they represent a relevant mortality risk factor that can be reduced with adequate and timely treatment.
Cancer and Obesity
Without trying to make this article even more technical and full of numbers we just want to share that according to the National Institutes of Health there is an increase of 40% to 80% in risk of dying from cancer among both men and women in the highest weight categories.
Having gastric sleeve surgery in méxico is an excellent option
Returning to the subject of the influence of the opinion of third parties, there are all kinds, it is understandable that if it is a family member or close friend their comments or observations are with the best of intentions thinking about your integrity and safety, but sometimes we hear stories that seem out of a horror movie.
For example, foreign patients who come to us occasionally sneak in to have surgery without telling to their family members because when they hear of their plans, they say negative comments out of fear or ignorance, but the general misconception is that they will arrive at a place where the doctor will be with his “sombrero” drinking tequila and probably he doesn’t even know what sterile material means (ok we are exaggerating but we do have heard the following comment): they have asked if we promise them that they will return home with both of their kidneys!
Although Mexico is considered a third world country, we truly believe that medically speaking, whether because of its capacity or its proximity to a first world country, when there is a good budget, the technology and facilities that we have in private medicine are the same or almost on par with what we could find in the US.
We do not want to deviate from the subject and you have checked it with the statistics that we present beforehand, that the most dangerous thing when a patient is considering bariatric surgery as a solution to their obesity problem and / or metabolic diseases is one of two:
- Seeking to have it done by the worst possible option, THAT IS: THE LOWEST PRICE OPTIONS
- Or ending up without getting their surgery done
This is not my concept or a colleague’s who does bariatric surgery, but something based on statistics where it is perfectly demonstrated that both, the quality of life and the life span after surgery are significantly increased. Said statistic mentions that a patient who suffers from obesity and undergoes a bariatric procedure is increasing his life expectancy at least 10 years.
It is necessary to take into account that it is not only years but how they live them. (This statistic does not say that the patient will live only 10 years after having surgery, as a patient explained to me that this was the reason why he decided not to have surgery previously), what these studies are trying to explain is that if a person was to live to 65 years old, if he/she is obese and gets weight loss surgery, will live to be 75 years old and with much better quality.
Anyways, it is very important for us, for both national and foreign patients to let them know that the perception of bariatric surgery has changed considerably in the last two decades, time at which new procedures such as the Gastric sleeve have already been established and other sounding very promising as the mini-gastric bypass and of course the gold standard which is the Roux en Y gastric bypass. This change in perception has taken a lot of time and effort on the part of those of us dedicated to this, but fortunately it is increasingly easier to share our experience and knowledge through media such as this blog, social networks, online medical networks etc, in comparison to 30 or 40 years ago.
Why do we consider this change in perception is so important? Simply because it opens doors and possibilities to people who previously did not even know of its existence, even until recently we had to deal with non-surgical doctors or non-bariatric surgeons who refused to accept bariatric surgery as an excellent option, and even today our "rivals" like the internists have had to accept that bariatric surgery has many more effects than simply cutting, cutting and suturing together abdominal viscera, even so that one of the most recognized organisms in the world in the management of diabetes as it is the ADA (American Diabetes Association) has finally accepted bariatric / metabolic surgery as a good treatment option for patients who do not even suffer from severe obesity, for difficult-to-control patients whose obesity is class I ( BMI 30 to 35).
If you are currently considering weight loss surgery and you are afraid, do not hesitate to contact us and we will gladly provide you with answers to all your questions in an honest and objective manner, our mission is to help people interested in this option before thinking on the economic benefit that represents if you become our patient, helping you avoid getting in touch with someone who only seeks for an income and not your benefit.
So either through our mail, toll free phone number or even in the comments of this blog we hope you tell us your experience if you already had surgery or tell us your fears about bariatric surgery.