Improving Quality of Life after Bariatric Surgery

January 12, 2016 Brigham and Women's Hospital

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After bariatric surgery, patients report that they are able to move more easily, have increased energy, experience less aches and pains, and sleep better.

Today’s post is written by Laura Andromalos, MS, RD, LDN, Bariatric Nutrition Manager and Senior Clinical Bariatric Dietitian, Center for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Weight loss surgery, or bariatric surgery, is about much more than weight loss. In fact, it’s often called metabolic and bariatric surgery because it can lead to an improvement in many health conditions. Diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, and sleep apnea may improve after metabolic and bariatric surgery. Many patients see improvements in their health before they begin to lose weight.

If your body mass index (BMI) is greater than 40 or greater than 35 and you have weight-related conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, you may be a candidate for bariatric surgery. It’s important to emphasize that bariatric and metabolic surgery is not a quick fix. It requires preparation and a lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle.  The Center for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital comprises a team of experts that can support you throughout your journey.

Bariatric and metabolic surgery also can lead to significant improvements in the quality of patients’ lives. After surgery, our patients report that they are able to move more easily, have increased energy, experience reductions in bodily aches and pains, and sleep better. These improvements enable our patients to enjoy their lives more fully. They are able to try new activities, such as dance, take long walks, travel with their families, or perform activities of daily living without becoming winded.

Louise exemplifies how our patients’ lives are transformed after metabolic and bariatric surgery. Obesity, coupled with joint pain, had overshadowed every aspect of Louise’s life as she neared retirement. The retail administration and recruiting job she loved so much was difficult because of her limited mobility. Interactions with friends and family had dwindled. “I avoided social situations,” she says. “I couldn’t deal with standing for periods of time, walking short distances, or climbing stairs.” Her husband attended many outings alone while Louise stayed home.

Over a year after her surgery, Louise no longer takes blood pressure medication and has stopped using a daily inhaler for asthma. She says that she replaced her entire wardrobe and donated her corporate attire to an organization that distributes clothes to disadvantaged women seeking employment. Her personal relationships are thriving: Louise and her husband are planning a trip to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. She enjoys excursions with her grandchildren, nieces, and nephews and no longer has physical restrictions as to the kind of activity planned.  You can read more about Louise or other patients on our website.

If you are interested in learning more about metabolic and bariatric surgery, you can view an online information session or meet our team members in person at an upcoming information session.

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