After many years of debate we are finally coming around to the unavoidable conclusion that surgery is the only truly successful and lasting solution to the problem of severe obesity. And it is most certainly not before time!
At the moment obesity is probably the leading health problem in the industrialized world and in the USA alone almost 60 percent of the population is overweight, with close to 24 percent being obese and 3 percent extremely obese. Now 3 percent might not seem like a large figure but when you consider that it is more than 9 million extremely obese individuals that is a pretty big problem.
Despite the fact that more and more attention is being focused on the problem of obesity and its cure, it is surprising just how much we still have to learn about the condition, including the affect that alcohol can have on people who have undergone weight loss surgery.
For a time now there has been a fair amount of anecdotal evidence that people who have had weight loss surgery are affected more by alcohol but it was not until October 2006 that any attempt was made to determine the extent of the problem.
In a quite low-key study the affects of alcohol on 19 people who had weight loss surgery was compared to the affects on 17 control subjects. The individuals in the study were each given a small 5 ounce glass of red wine and their breath alcohol was then analyzed until it fell back to zero.
The study discovered that alcohol levels peaked at a higher level in the weight loss patients and also took far longer to fall back to zero. However, most interestingly, the study also showed that just }a single|one} small glass of wine was enough to push the breath alcohol level in some weight loss surgery patients above the legal alcohol level for driving in several states.
The explanation for the heightened affects of alcohol on weight loss surgery patients is fairly easy to understand as surgery both reduces the volume of the stomach and bypasses part of the intestine, both areas of the body which play a significant role in breaking down alcohol before it finds its way into the bloodstream.
So just what does this mean for weight loss surgery patients,
Well, apart from the obvious need to be careful and certainly to refrain from driving after drinking even small amounts of alcohol, the implications for weight loss surgery patients do in fact go a little wider.
One major problem is that alcohol acts as a relaxant and this can lead to problems when it comes to post-surgical weight loss and to maintaining weight loss. As alcohol relaxes the stomach, which includes the lower esophageal sphincter, and the intestine, patients who enjoy a drink can eat more and alcohol effectively counteracts the affects of surgery. As if this were not bad enough a significant number of people are more active socially after surgery and this generally means an increased consumption of alcohol.
There will still need to be considerably more research carried out of course but, in the end, the simple fact is that people who have weight loss surgery need to be aware of the possible risks of alcohol and act accordingly.