Sunday, April 09, 2017

The Dark Side of the Gastric Sleeve



There are apparently several famous people who got gastric sleeve or sleeve gastrectomy. It looks good. It's not a gastric bypass, so other than undermining protein and fat digestion in the stomach (some surgeons remove 90% of the stomach and put delicately, "send it to pathology"... in other words, discard it), the duodenum which is one of the main digestive organs is left in tact and after all, sleeve gastrectomy is or seems a less risky surgery than gastric bypass et al.

But the gastric sleeve appears to have a darker side. The stomach which is now, about as big as your thumb and twice as long as your thumb, doesn't hold much of anything...for example, patients describe difficulty in drinking liquids and some have observed brown urine from dehydration etc.

Mama June Shannon, mother of the cute little girl who starred on "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" TV Show, was quite overweight although likely not, the 450 lbs she claimed, had the gastric sleeve.

She said it was an, a lot more painful process than she expected as she also had a couple of skin removal surgeries but on tonight's show, "Mama June, From Not to Hot", she was able to strut her stuff at her ex hubby's "Sugar Bear's" wedding. June was never married to Sugar Bear as she was likely still married to the father of one of her other kids but they made a commitment ceremony last season on Honey Boo Boo's show.

On tonight's show, Mama June, apparently healed from her multiple surgeries, thin and blond, went to her ex's wedding and after, had a fun burning of her old large clothing.  Since June and her daughters have moved into a new rather nice home (TV pays well!), she and friends went out to the middle of the woods for the burning ceremony. However, when she went back home afterward, she suddenly, got very sick. They rushed her to the ER, complaining of severe abdominal pain.  She lived and they promise that next week's show, will feature the entire story of what happened to her. She was in enough pain that she couldn't stand up.

One thing I've seen happen with the sleeve, is a staple line leakage. A patient I know, had to go through multiple surgeries to fix that and included in the dark side of the sleeve, is the fact that unlike the gastric bypass, there is no way to reverse it.

Bottom line, none of these surgeries are really effective because we now know the appetite centers are in the brain...thus surgery or no surgery, we can only lose weight and keep it off by reconfiguring our thinking processes and living in a jungle of high fat, high calorie food, this is never an easy process.  Even Dr Now of the TV show, "My 600 lb Life", admits that surgery is only effective IF the patient diets and exercises...which is, of course, effective without surgery.

So why do they still do weight loss surgery? Because it's a cash cow. The average weight loss surgery surgeon makes $1.5 million bucks a year. People have done strange things for much less than that!

I felt bad for Mama June...she was a happy, reasonably healthy, overweight person and now, she has all sorts of issues with her mutilated digestive tract. 

It's a vicious circle. Providers generally don't follow post ops and complications from all surgeries, are handled by emergency medicine. Overweight people, desperate to lose weight, tend to not do the research they should do, relying on their providers to inform them but without following up on post ops, the providers may not know much more of the long term repercussions than do the patients.


Buyer, beware...be very careful in surgically removing or mutilating the stomach.  That our digestive systems work, wasn't the reason we gained weight and disabling it, is likely to cause more problems than we bargained for.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Higher rate heart attack and suicide after gastric bypass

In the gastric bypass, the stomach is very compromised and the duodenum, a vital part of digestion, is bypassed.  This is why it causes nutritional deficiencies in most patients.

Yesterday's broadcast "My 600 lb life", was unsettling, especially in my watching it for the second time.  I'm assuming because the patient died from heart disease, soon after they had stopped following him, they haven't shown this episode much because of the possible negative effects on the audience of prospective surgical patients.

What was interesting to me is that he apparently, had heart disease before surgery because during his excess skin removal surgery, he suffered a total cardiac arrest.  "I actually died on the table," the patient tells the camera, but they were able to resuscitate him.

He called his resuscitation, a miracle but a year or two after these procedures, he had a heart attack while driving a school bus and crashed the school bus.  He was D.O.A. when he got to the hospital. We weren't told how many kids were injured but since he'd had a heart attack a year or two earlier, while driving a shuttle bus, one questions why he was again driving and then, a school bus.  One of many questions with this case.

One question that arises was - was this person who obviously already had heart disease, really a good candidate for a procedure like the gastric bypass which tends to raise the risk of heart disease? 

A study published in the "Archives of Surgery" in 2007, found that gastric bypass actually increased the risk of both heart attack and suicide in post ops.  The study examined the records of 16,683 weight loss surgeries among Pennsylvania residents.  They found a substantial number of excess deaths attributed to both heart disease and suicide.  As post surgery time increased, the researchers continued, so did the death rates with heart disease topping the list.  The bariatric industry basically ignored the study, pointing out that these ailments are higher among the obese anyway.

The Dr on TV requires prospective patients to lose 50 to 100 lbs before surgery which they all diligently do, pointing out that diet and exercise are needed to continue weight loss after surgery, but of course, diet and exercise also work well to effect a weight loss without surgery and often, the patient, anxious for the surgery, loses weight at a faster rate before surgery, than after.

When the gastric bypass was promulgated in the 1960's, it was thought that the stomach controls appetite and thus, mutilating this vital digestive organ, would help the person to control their overeating.

They didn't realize then, that the stomach, although a key player in the digestion of proteins, fats and vitamin B12, does NOT control the appetite centers which we now know, are located in the brain.  Moderns who have the gastric bypass are disappointed that their cravings (which originate in the brain) have not been affected by the surgery.

Interestingly, if we look at the repercussions of the gastric bypass more closely, we see that although the weight loss effects are temporary (according to TV bariatric surgeon, Dr Nowzaradan), the complications not only last much longer but increase in the years after surgery.

Happily, less and less surgeons are doing gastric bypass - hopefully, we will see the end of this invasive but not that effective procedure in the near future.

One doctor told his patients to diet and exercise before surgery and then, when they'd had a substantial weight loss, he told them "Now, go home and continue what you are doing!  You don't need surgery!"

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Medical profession or business?


Did anyone see "Doug's Story" on My 600 lb
Iife TV show?  His wife who was very overweight, had had WLS, probably 8 years previously, was 60 to 70 lbs overweight. She said she'd been over 300 lbs before surgery but she seemed gaining it pretty much back, while still likely suffering the malnutrition and/or discomfort of surgery.  What a ripoff! I'm kind of not real pleased with the medical profession or should I say the medical business myself. We've been paying thousands of bucks over the years to take DH to doctors, for "diabetic checks". Not a one of them told him he could avoid problems later by going on a low fat, basically veggie diet, avoiding fast food completely and exercising 40 -60 minutes daily. It's in the books ...I read 19 books on the subject because heart disease runs in my family too. My mother who was bipolar was equally badly treated by medicine, went to doctors who never helped her. And this losing weight thing. Nowzaradan tells his patients to lose 50-100 lbs before they "qualify" for WLS, then he multilates their GI tract telling them the myth that it's going to help them lose weight but he's admitted that on TV that if they don't diet and exercise, the surgery won't work. He doesn't warn them it will do nothing to stop their cravings because the appetite centers are in the brain. But he's taking the money to the bank in barrels...not only doing the WLS on them but doing skin removal also. In 1994 DH suffered erectile dysfunction... the doctor asked him if he wanted medication (which is hard on the heart by the way). Tonight I read that erectile dysfunction is one of the first signs of clogged veins. He almost died last year after 5 surgeries, and getting septicemia and osteomyelitis from bad wound care. But heck, doctors made thousands of bucks off him. Not a one of them warned him. I did, after my research of 19 books and 5 years of magazine articles in Fitness Magazine..the research is out there but if he didn't hear it from his doctors why should he believe me?

When the lady who helps him with his baths (after 8 months in the hospital, he's not real mobile etc) asked me how old I am (I'm very mobile!) and was shocked that we are both 72 years old.  I've seen those around me go through h-ll when we have the technology to help them. No wonder I'm angry.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Lap Band must be removed within 5 years




New research found that the lap band, previously considered the safest weight loss surgery procedure, "must be removed within 5 years to avoid complications". (Obese Surg. Published online January 12, 2017)

The complications are not available in the abstract but from my research, I can detail some of them.  Most prominent, is the fact that the stomach is muscular organ and the muscular movement of the stomach tends to cause the band to damage the place at the top of the stomach if left in for longer than a couple of years.

One of the doctors who does the gastric bypass, published photos of the stomach, bleeding and raw from the rubbing of the band.  Of course, the gastric bypass does damage to the GI tract from the get-go.

What we should remember about all these procedures, is the concept of weight loss surgery is an old one, before we knew the appetite centers are in the brain, which is why even Dr Nowzaradan, the TV weight loss surgeon, admits that any surgery (unless you get sick from it) is ineffective on the long term.

The facts are what we'd rather not accept.  Counting calories or points on the long term is the only way to control weight and it must be done carefully as to not get malnutrition. And even more unacceptable in our fat phobic world is that a person can be overweight and healthy if they exercise regularly (cardio, stretching and strength training) and eat healthy (the low fat diet is still the healthiest).

That being said can obesity bite on the long term?  Sadly, it can. But due to things like clogged arteries (from eating high fat or fast food).  Another no win situation of a body made to survive in eras before the American lifestyle.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

weight loss surgery not really effective, admits top surgeon



It's pretty common knowledge for those who access the Internet, that weight loss surgery is not only ineffective but risky.

But recently, Dr "Now" of "My 600 lb life" admitted on TV that weight loss surgery isn't effective after 5 years, a telling admission for him since he actively, is pursuing clients for his surgery although there is some evidence that he might be doing the safer gastric sleeve, more than the gastric bypass.

Weight loss surgery, all of it, is based on an idea we now know to be false i.e. that the appetite center is in the stomach. 

The appetite center is in the brain which is why weight loss surgery isn't effective unless you diet and exercise which of course, causes a weight loss without surgery!

The inventor of the gastric bypass, Edward Mason, found, in the 1960's, his ulcer surgery patients were losing weight and thought he could do similar surgery on overweight folks with the same results.  Thus began a long era of surgeons quite literally, going to the bank, doing weight loss surgery procedures.  Because there was so little followup, surgeons were neither aware of the high rate of regain nor the alarming number of deaths and/or repercussions.

When one procedure proved ineffective as well as risky, another one came into vogue.  Right now, the gastric sleeve, a surgery which calls for the permanent removal of up to 90% of the stomach is the surgery "du jour".  

Trouble is, the remaining "thumb sized" stomach which results from a sleeve gastrectomy, probably does not digest B12, fats or proteins really well.  And this surgery, although safer than the gastric bypass, is not reversible.

In a society where the medical profession is profit making, abuse is common.  Thankfully, the internet can inform people but sadly, many people either don't have access to the Internet or cannot really utilize their access well enough to do research.

Less than 5% of dieters can keep the weight off and that number who can keep off weight, is only 2% higher among weight loss surgery patients...that is less than 7% of weight loss surgery patients can keep off all of their weight for any amount of time.

Bottom line, if you want to take off weight, you might be best to just do the diet and exercise part and skip the surgery.  (Diet, unless you do it very carefully, has its own set of risks).

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Obesity Code - is it really new?



"The Obesity Code", a new book out, while saying it's the final solution to weight problems, is nothing new. And, people, tired of dieting, are buying it rapidly off the shelves, over the internet, or whatever.  I read a few reviews of it while deciding if I needed to add it to my always growing library on Weight Loss.

From what I can see, the meat of "The Obesity Code", pun intended, is intermittent fasting. You can fast...water only, or liquids or a bunch of ways. While I don't know what type of fasting is suggested in the book, it all amounts to basically no food... one day a week or one day a month or ?? 

That's supposed to keep off the weight forever. It's not new because I tried it in the 1970's. I lost about 25 lbs but eventually, I got horrendous cravings, couldn't stomach the fasting part anymore and regained the 30 lbs I'd lost and another 70, probably a result of a lowered metabolism and being really, over, fasting! :)

The only thing that really works to lose the weight and keep it off, is calorie restriction and portion control - for life. Staying away from calorie dense stuff like fast foods is a good idea or use the Gwen Schamblin method for fun foods, (from the book, WEIGH DOWN). That is, take one bite of a fun food, and chew it slowly, savoring it. Because as she rightly, points out, the first bite tastes the best and if we slow down enough to experience this, we can find out that this is very true.  Gwen has kept several pounds off for many years and she enjoys her fun foods also.

We all have to experiment with things and see what works the best for us. 

After trying just about everything else, I realized that calorie restriction and portion control is the only way that worked for me, to lose and keep off weight.  

 In 2008-2010 I lost 112 lbs, and have kept off 107 lbs ever since. I count my calories every day on My Fitness Pal, a great website which offers a free  calorie counter and found that a small bite of treats or even programming small amounts into my day, keeps away the cravings monster.

Eating big portions of veggies with no butter etc, fills you up and no one ever got a weight problem from too many veggies!

Every "diet book" claims it's new and revolutionary because the diet-fatigued, overweight public craves an answer that is easier than daily calorie counting or restricting food amounts in some other way... but in reality, "there is nothing new under the sun".

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Surgery for weight loss



A sad thing for me is when weight loss surgery post ops come back and say "Oh Sue, I wish I'd listened to your warnings".

The warnings I've posted can actually be found on most weight loss surgeons' websites but they aren't in a very prominent place.

Moreover, people want to believe there is a quick way to doing this weight loss thing - so maybe many folks don't look for the small print like 1-2% of gastric bypass patients die within 30 days of surgery or like undermining the delicately balanced system we have for nourishing our bodies with the hundreds of nutrients we need on a daily basis, isn't a very good idea.   As one doctor put in it in a book I read in the 1970's, this type of thing is similar to trying to run our cars on French perfume... how long would they run? Sadly, we often treat our cars better than we treat our bodies! 

The body adapts in a way to various forms of starvation, but of course does not last very well in the long run as it starts to consume protein and macro nutrients from itself, like the brain, the heart, calcium from the bones etc.

It's meant as a short term way to survive a starvation period and not for something in the long term.

I remember when I started studying this stuff in 1990.  I called a medical provider, an intelligent well educated one, and asked him to tell me what he knew about the GI tract. He gave me a short basic explanation.  I asked for more details but he said that was all they got in medical school!

I ended up reading bunches of books and medical journals to get the rest of the information, a research which took more than 10 years of study (not counting the many books etc I read before my specific study on weight loss surgery - I'd been studying weight control since the 1970's and still am studying it).  Sadly, this is not easily available to the public and apparently many medical providers don't have the time or ? to study this in more detail.

Eating healthy and exercising at least 5 days a week (the only thing which strengthens our hearts is cardio exercise or as it was formerly called, "aerobic exercise") is the best way to go.  That's what they say if one studies the subject and I can attest from personal experience, it works.

Eating healthy usually means avoiding fast or fatty foods and eating mostly veggies and some fruits.

Not eating healthy and exercising raises our risks for heart disease, stroke, thrombosis and more.  I've lived through this thing of heart disease and clogged arteries - not in myself but in my hubby who never heard from a medical provider about a heart healthy diet or how important aerobic exercise is. I made him exercise daily but he only did 20 minutes most days.  Never-the-less, that 20 minutes is probably the reason why he's still living albeit required five major surgeries to fix his heart and clear out the clogging from his arteries. 

And all this, while seeing medical providers regularly and paying lots of bucks - where were the warnings he should have gotten?  

And basically, not looking for the quick way out of a weight problem because there is no quick way that is healthy and works.  Terminal cancer patients don't have a weight problem but I suspect most of us would not want to go there.  But having one's stomach and bowels cut up and/or rearranged in a very unnatural manner, as done in surgeries for weight loss, isn't a good idea either.

As Beverly Sills has said "there is no quick road to a place worth going!"