Metabolic surgery is both the same and different in many ways from other medical treatments or surgical interventions. While it is true that as a surgical intervention it cures disease and prolongs life, it is also quite true that the outcomes depend significantly on the person receiving the treatment.
If you think about it for a minute, you realize this is true for most of other medical treatments or surgical interventions. Imagine the person taking a blood pressure medicine or a diabetes medicine who makes no effort to control their calorie and carbohydrate intake or who refuses to quit smoking.
Likewise, think of a patient undergoing hip reconstruction surgery who refuses to follow doctor’s orders or do their physical therapy. The outcomes, the benefit of the treatment, won’t be as favorable.
The same thing is true with metabolic surgery. Nowadays, we have enormous databases from large health systems and even entire countries that show unmistakably the powerful, beneficial effects of metabolic surgery.
People who undergo a bariatric surgical procedure (a.k.a., sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass) live longer – and significantly so – than their counterparts who did not have the surgery. That survival advantage, in and of itself, is a profound finding not realized by many medical therapies.
People also have lower risk of strokes, heart attacks, kidney failure, and even cancer. So, there’s no denying the tremendous benefit for people with obesity or type two diabetes receiving the treatment of metabolic surgery. But why doesn’t it work to the same degree for every single person?
Some of the variation has to do with our individual genetics and biology. Metabolic surgery acts by changing the hormonal levels of key hormones that emanate from the gastrointestinal tissues. By altering those tissues, the hormone levels change to more favorable levels substantially and for the long term.
Those hormone changes reset the metabolic rate, the levels of fat storage, long-term blood sugar levels, and the body weight setpoint, all for the better. But the individual plays a role also.
In this way, metabolic surgery is a tool and not a quick fix. Body weight and blood sugar regulation are some of the body parameters that are most influenced by the choices we make, what we do, and what we eat.
So, it makes sense that a person who shifts their dietary choices away from high calorie, high carbohydrate foods to things like healthy vegetables and lower carbohydrate items will indeed have lower blood sugar and somewhat lower body weight.
Likewise, a person who starts walking their dog 30 minutes a day and gradually builds up to a 90-minute walk seven days a week will maintain a healthier long-term body weight than the person who stays on the couch.
The take-home lesson is that if you or a loved one is struggling with obesity or type two diabetes, you will be well-served to take an objective look at the safest and best treatment for the conditions. But you would also be well-served to utilize that treatment – metabolic surgery – as a tool, and not simply as a quick fix.
Have you ever tried a quick fix for a health issue? What was it? Did it work? Do you think there is a tool you should have considered instead?
Tags Medical Conditions