Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Myself as a source

I'm not including this in my list of sources, but leaving it as a sort of comment I guess. I used my own personal knowledge and passion on this topic for my paper. Having experienced first hand the journey that having gastric bypass surgery is, it makes me a very impassioned person about it. I can't imagine my life as it was any more. I do know that I was always tired and really just not a happy person at all. I was very good at putting on a brave face and making it look like I was fine, but really, I wasn't. Since having surgery I have literally lost a whole person. Not just in weight, but I lost the depressed "fat mommy" that I was. Before my surgery I would not have been in this class. I had always wanted to go back to school to get my degrees, but deep down inside I could never have accomplished that because I was so ashamed of who and what I was. I could not fit in an airline seat and had to ask, as discreetly as possible, for an extender. Now, I am able to easily fit into a seat AND put the tray table down completely.

I love my life now. I am thrilled to be an active mom who can keep up with her kids. I love going out with them and experiencing life with them rather then just kind of watching from the side. I had this surgery for a bunch of different reasons, but regaining my life and getting to really live are some of the biggest ones. I look so forward to the rest of my life. The life that I will definitely get to live and see because of this wonderful surgery that I was able to have.

Understanding coronary artery disease

This website was helpful in explaining the actual process behind what happens to the heart as a person's arteries begin to clog with plaque. It has a wide range of information on exactly what coronary artery disease is and what the effects are on the heart and therefore on the body. It has a wide range of information including what the risk factors are and how to find a surgeon if you are in need of one to help you fight this disease.

The link for this site can be located here

Yale University Heart Book

This book had a ton of information in it about heart disease. I specifically used it for it's information about obesity and the effects that it has on the heart. Obesity makes everything harder. This includes how the heart works. Any excess weight will make the heart work harder, but being obese just makes the heart work even harder. The excess weight that an obese person carries makes the heart pump harder to move blood through the extremities and to get oxygen to the rest of the body. Add into that raised cholesterol from being obese and you have a recipe for disaster. You are basically a heart attack waiting to happen unless you are able to lose weight and change your lifestyle, which is something that you HAVE to do if you are having any kind of bariatric surgery.

Economic costs of obesity and inactivity.

This is a very interesting study. It took into account what the medical costs of America's inactivity, and invariably obesity, are. It used data from 1995 in order to come up with it's numbers, but the findings are just amazing. The study figures that the final costs of America's inactivity and obesity are 70 billion dollars. I honestly can't even comprehend that much money. That is taking into account a laundry list of illnesses, or comorbidities, of obesity and what it costs to treat these problems. That is a huge amount of money spent to treat everything from sleep apnea and depression to arthritis and heart disease. Pretty much all of these problems can be treated if not cured with weight loss surgery.

This study can be found here

"60 Minutes" does bariatric surgery

In April of 2008 "60 Minutes" did a piece on bariatric surgery, specifically gastric bypass. Part of the segment was spent talking with Dr. Francesco Rubino who was so fascinated with the results of his insulin dependent type 2 diabetic patients going into complete remission before even leaving the hospital that he has since started to test the removal of the equivalent amount of small intestine and reattaching it to a non altered stomach in laboratory animals with type 2 diabetes with the same amazing results as his gastric bypass patients. By preforming the "duodenal switch" part of the gastric bypass without altering the stomach in any way the lab animals are also showing signs of diabetes remission.

This is an amazing finding. If this promising procedure can continue to have the same results without the weight loss component of gastric bypass surgery it could become a way to force type 2 diabetes into remission for the millions of Americans who have this disease but are not candidates for gastric bypass because they do not meet the weight requirements.

The segment also spoke to several post surgery patients. Each and every patient said that they would have the surgery again tomorrow and had no regrets about their surgery. Almost all of them had been on insulin for their diabetes and most either left the hospital without medication or were soon able to stop taking their medications and are now considered in complete remission for type 2 diabetes.

An article about the segment as well as a video of the segment are available here

Wikipedia on Bariatric Surgery

While Wikipedia is not always the best place to find information because of the nature of the site, where people can add or change information, it can be an ok place to find basic and general information. I basically used Wikipedia as a way to find the actual definition of bariatric surgery. While I have a lot of information on bariatric surgery I was unsure of the exact definition which is "Bariatric surgery, also known as weight loss surgery, refers to the various surgical procedures performed to treat obesity by modification of the gastrointestinal tract to reduce nutrient intake and/or absorption. The term does not include procedures for surgical removal of body fat such as liposuction or abdominoplasty." This definition will help the reader understand exactly what the surgeries that I'm talking about are.

The exact Wikipedia link is here

Sunday, December 7, 2008

What does diabetes cost?

In this study, the authors do very extensive research as to the actual costs involved with treating type 2 diabetes. They take into account all of the costs including extended medications, medical and hospital stays, and resulting complications from type 2 diabetes. The study finds that the cost of treating this disease as a nation, are in the billions. It does not speak specifically about treatment of the disease. It focuses mainly on what the costs are and, based on models of other illnesses what the expected future costs will be.

For more information about this study you can check it out here.

What is Type 2 Diabetes

While the exact causes of type 2 diabetes are unknown, the result is still that the pancreas does not create enough insulin or the body does not know how to properly get rid of insulin excess. If either of these problems arises then you become diabetic. Type 1 diabetes often is found in childhood and is when the pancreas does not make enough insulin, so shots must be taken to help the body keep up with the demand. Type 2 diabetes is a huge problem with morbidly obese people, and when it is first diagnosed, can often be kept under control with diet and exercise. When a patient does not lose weight and continues to eat an unhealthy diet, the diabetes gets to the point where it must be managed with prescription medications.

There are many symptoms of type 2 diabetes, and if these symptoms are ignored or not recognized it can lead to death. Type 2 diabetes is a growing problem in the United States as the number of morbidly obese people increases. There are many on-going studies right now that are researching the positive effects between gastric bypass surgery and remission of type 2 diabetes. While they cannot call surgery a cure for type 2 diabetes, many patients are able to stop taking their prescriptions days or weeks after surgery and never go back on them.

My information on type 2 diabetes came from this website

What is morbid obesity?

In order to qualify for gastric bypass surgery you have to be morbidly obese. There is a very specific definition to what this means. "Morbid obesity—sometimes called "clinically severe obesity"—is defined as being 100 lbs. or more over ideal body weight or having a Body Mass Index(BMI)of 40 or higher." In the United States there are 5-10 million people who are considered to be morbidly obese.

The numbers that are shown through this website are staggering. The fact that nearly 1/3 of all American adults are considered to be morbidly obese shows the proportions of this problem. We, as a nation, cannot continue along this path. Something needs to be done now in order to solve it. I'm not saying that every one of these people should get gastric bypass surgery, but I am saying that many of these people would look at it as a strong option, but are unable to obtain the surgery because of a lack of ability to pay for it.

The information used in this post was found on this site

Amazing Results

The gastric bypass operation reduces the progression and mortality of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus

This is an article written for the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery. In this study the group of researchers studied the effects of gastric bypass surgery on patients with type 2 diabetes. The research group was a group of 232 patients where 154 had surgery and 78 did not for various reasons, including not having insurance approval for the surgery. The results for this study were amazing. The patients who did not have surgery were unable to maintain any level of weight loss and their diabetes symptoms did not get any better, and in some cases became worse. In the patients who did have surgery, the diabetes either went away completely or the symptoms were greatly improved after surgery. Through the continued weight loss and the ability to keep it off because of surgery, many of these patients were able to get off of their medications completely and live much healthier lives.

The link for this journal can be found here

The "bible" of gastric bypass

For anyone considering gastric bypass the first book that they should buy is Weight Loss Surgery For Dummies. This book has all the information that someone could want about surgery. It covers everything from what the benefits and downsides of surgery can be to how to deal with your insurance company. This book is an amazing resource and is written by a weight loss surgeon, the publisher of a weight loss magazine, and a patient advocate for weight loss surgery.

This book does what many of the books in the "for Dummies" series does. It takes the very complicated subject of weight loss surgery and breaks it down. It makes the information much more manageable and guides you to other resources when necessary. It helps to guide you through all of the possible questions that you could have about your surgery. How to pick a surgeon and what you should bring to the hospital. It even has some personal stories from people who have been on the journey through weight loss surgery and how they dealt with the changes that they have experienced. This book is a wonderful resource and a basic must for anyone who is considering any kind of weight loss surgery.