5 Things you should know about Bariatric Surgery
Malaysia is a country which has a rich culinary heritage and history. Almost every Malaysian citizen would agree that one of the best things about living in Malaysia is having access to a wide variety of cuisines from all across the globe. However, this food paradise comes with a price.
Today, Malaysia is considered the most obese nation in Asia. According to the Ministry of Health, nearly half the population of 30 million people are overweight or obese. This has led to a significant increase in the number of people who suffer from diabetes and other obesity related issues. Fortunately there’s a new treatment available to such people – bariatric surgery.
So what do we know about this surgery?
1. The weight loss surgery
Bariatric surgery is an operation on the internal digestive system to help people with extreme obesity to lose weight. Depending on which procedure you go for, bariatric surgery can reduce your weight by as much as 50 kg in 10 months.
While doctors will always encourage their patients to exercise or diet in order to lose weight, some people struggle to shed kilos no matter how hard they try. In addition, some patients need an immediate fix due to health concerns. In such cases, bariatric surgery is recommended.
2. It’s an effective way of treating diabetes
According to Dr. Shashank Shah, 60% of patients who have undergone gastric bypass are able to achieve remission or good control of their blood sugar levels. This significantly reduces the risk to diabetes-related complications. Patients under the surgery group also see reduction in body weight, blood pressure, cholesterol level and reliance on medication.
3. We’ve been doing it for over 20 years
“Malaysia’s first bariatric surgery was performed in 1996,” Associate Professor Dato Dr. Nik Ritza Kosai said. Bariatric surgery is not a new or experimental thing – in 2016 alone, Malaysian bariatric surgeons performed a total of 2,159 bariatric procedures.
4. There isn’t enough patient awareness
Even when the surgery is available, not many patients go for it because they are simply unaware of what bariatric surgery is.
“We get 50% of referrals from orthopaedic consultants to help patients whose weight is causing problems to the joints.” said Dr. Nik. “As such, more education is needed to inform diabetes patients who are currently consulting general practitioners and endocrinologists to consider bariatric surgery as a treatment for diabetes.”
5. Access is Limited
Currently, there are 31 surgeons and 28 public and private hospitals across the country that are capable of performing bariatric surgeries. With such a limited supply, there’s not enough surgeons to treat the 3.5 million diabetic patients in Malaysia.
If you’re curious, you can find more information on the Bariatric Malaysia website today.