Tackling obesity with lasting weight loss solutions
Obesity is a very serious matter. In fact, it has become one of the key health challenges of the 21st century, affecting more than one in four Australian adults. It is pathogenic, causing or worsening more than 30 diseases, most notably diabetes, cancer, depression, low back pain and sleep disorders. It is also lethal, markedly increasing the chances of premature death. But the good news is that it is treatable. Prof. Paul O’Brien of The Avenue Private Hospital explains.
Weight loss is the best medicine
In protecting against the diseases caused or exacerbated by obesity, weight loss is the most powerful single treatment available. It corrects most obesity-related health issues, improves quality of life and achieves better life expectancy.
Put simply, from a medical perspective, people who can lose a substantial amount of weight and keep it off are healthier, happier and live longer.
Achieving long-lasting weight loss
There are five groups of options for achieving weight loss:
Essentially, ‘eating less and doing more’. Lifestyle measure options can include the thousands of diet and exercise programs that come in all shapes and sizes, best marketed by the commercial weight loss groups such as Jenny Craig and Lite ‘n’ Easy. These are very safe, but can be quite costly. Their effects are fairly limited in the long term, with the majority of participants putting the weight back on over time.
Medical weight loss programs
Using a medical weight loss program, you still must eat less and exercise more but you are assisted by a drug or a special diet. The very low-calorie diets such as Optifast have been available for some time. There are now new drugs available of proven effectiveness, including Contrave and Saxenda.
Endoscopic therapies include the ‘gastric balloon’, which has been available for many years, and exciting new therapies such as the endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty. This is potentially a very important growth area and the doctors of The Avenue are strongly involved in this growth.
The laparoscopic adjustable gastric band or ‘lap band’ is a band that is surgically placed around the top part of the stomach to assist with weight loss by reducing food intake. When used properly, it is a very safe, gentle, effective and fully reversible weight loss procedure which can be done as a day patient and has recently been shown by our surgeons to give excellent weight loss of more than 30 kg at 20 years. It is truly effective and durable treatment – but only when there is good follow up, adjustments and commitment.
Stapling procedures use staples to reduce the size of the stomach and aid weight loss. Sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass are the most common examples of this procedure. Stapling procedures are reasonably safe and are effective, at least to 10 years. They are irreversible. There is still a requirement for less food and more exercise but they are more independent of close follow-up than the lap-band.
Losing weight with the experts
For more than 25 years, the Avenue Hospital has played a major role in helping those battling obesity, offering a wide range of treatments suited to patients’ individual needs and preferences.
In particular, our team of doctors has had great success with lap-band surgery, as shown by the chart below:
Published in January 2019, this research shows that, on average, the patients were able to achieve an early weight loss of more than 30 kg and maintain this weight loss for at least 20 years . This is truly substantial and long-lasting weight loss.
Start the journey to better health today
If you are battling obesity and its associated health issues, effective weight loss options are available. More information on weight loss procedures at The Avenue can be found on our Bariatric Surgery page. If you would like to speak to a specialist about what weight loss treatments are right for you, a list of our specialist doctors can be found here.