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Life after Bariatric Surgery

With the surge in prevalence of obesity in the 21st century, the option of successful bariatric surgery for weight loss has rapidly gained popularity. Bariatric surgery is a gastric sleeve or a bypass surgery that involves operating on the stomach and small intestine to produce hormonal changes that have assuring effects on weight loss. It also treats metabolic syndrome, improves the cardiovascular system and fertility rates. This surgery is known to reduce 60-70% of weight (at least 15kg) in the first year for bariatric patients and sustained weight of 15-25% after 20 years. With weight reduction, bariatric surgery plays a pivotal role in reducing metabolic syndrome prevalence, contributing to a healthy life for the individual. Although bariatric surgery is a means of maintaining a good lifestyle, it doesn’t mean that it’s enough. Certain lifestyle modifications are essential to continue after surgery. Below are listed some dos and don’ts that you need to know in order to maintain your fitness after a successful surgery.

Watch your food

Drink plenty of fluids. Keep yourself hydrated. Watch your diet. Post-surgery, your proteins get lost. You must add proteins to your diet. Avoid foods with high starch and sugar content. Eat slowly and chew foods properly. Start off with a liquid diet, followed by a soft diet, and gradually shifting to a solid diet. These dietary habits will help you recover well and remain comfortable.

Exercise

Exercise should be encouraged as soon as possible after recovery. One should make a habit of at least 30 minutes’ walk every day. It helps to lose weight faster. Initially, start by a 10-15 min walk and gradually increase your time. You don’t need to start work-out vigorously just after surgery. Take your time, set your routine, and then continue your good habit.

Medications

After surgery, you may need some anti-acids medications for a period of time. Suppose surgery was done for a metabolic syndrome like diabetes, fatty liver disease, or any other medical condition. In that case, you may need to be shifted to chewable or liquid forms of medicines. Your medicines doses may also need to be changed. Your doctor will guide you according to your medical reasons precisely.

Pregnancy and Bariatric Surgery

Weight reduction dramatically increases the chances of fertility in women by regulating menstrual cycles. Once the cycles are regular, one may aim to become pregnant. Pregnancy is a whole-body changing phenomenon, which requires proper diet and weight gain. It is suggested that one should aim to get pregnant 12-18 after bariatric surgery to ensure that there is proper weight maintenance beforehand for better pregnancy outcomes.

Smoking and Alcohol

Smoking is advised to discontinue even before surgery, or it may delay the recovery period. It worsens the healing process after surgery. It causes lung injury, puts the patient at risk for heart attack, pneumonia, and blood clots after surgery.

Alcohol use after surgery can increase the risk for alcoholism as its absorption is increased. Therefore, abstinence from alcohol should be encouraged to prevent further deterioration of health even after surgery.

Long term follow ups

The treatment for obesity doesn’t end after bariatric surgery. Although this surgery provides a long-term and efficient treatment for obesity, there are specific follow-up plans that the patient needs to be alert of.  Initially, you will need regular clinic visits every three months with your baseline investigations that include your blood tests to check for health status along with any nutrient deficiency. This is essential, or you may become nutrient deficient otherwise. You can shift to annual visits later on. Any denial of follow-up can lead to the continuation or return of obesity. Therefore, proper lifestyle changes and frequent follow-up visits are essential for long-term management after bariatric surgery.

Conclusion

Whether it is medical or surgical, every treatment requires follow-up to determine a patient’s health status afterward and rule out and prevent any unwanted complications. Life after bariatric surgery enables the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle for an individual after getting rid of chronic conditions like obesity. Proper dietary habits, physical activity, and avoiding smoking and alcohol use ensure better outcomes for many individuals.

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