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COVID-19 and Bariatric Surgery – Part II

April 6, 2020

There is a wealth of information on the internet about the novel coronavirus. Instead of rehashing it, I would like to look at this situation from two other perspectives.

FIRST

Weight loss matters. We know that COVID-19 infections are worse when patient have underlying medical problems and are immune suppressed. For example, those with emphysema and asthma do worse with COVID 19 infection. Those who are immune suppressed may be more likely to die. Obesity makes all medical problems worse. If a patient has emphysema, it’s worse because of the obesity…the extra weight makes it more difficult to breathe. It’s not rocket science! Imagine lying in bed trying to breathe with a 50 pound weight on your chest! I have had multiple patients tell me that their respiratory problems improved after bariatric surgery.

Diabetes is an immune suppressed state. Obesity is an immune suppressed state. Diabetics are much more likely to get infections because the high sugars impair the white blood cells’ ability to fight infection. It also causes other changes to the immune system which makes the patient more likely to get infections. Diabetes limits blood flow to tissues which further limits the patient’s ability to fight infection. Obesity is associated with multiple changes of the immune function. It has been known for a long time that obese patients are more likely to have major infections even if they are not diabetic. Bariatric surgery helps both obesity and diabetes. Overall, the cure/remission rate for diabetes is 70-85% after bariatric surgery. However, this is greatly affected by the patient’s lifestyle. If they aggressively change their lifestyle, the remission rate for diabetes is higher.

What’s the point of all this? Weight loss maters! Let’s work to get optimal control of your weight. Let’s help you lose the extra pounds. If you haven’t seen me in a while, make an appointment. I can even see you via Facetime or Skype. Let’s look at your diet and your exercise routine and see how to help you lose more weight (or keep the weight off).

SECOND

Thankfulness. Typically, we only talk a lot about thanksgiving at THANKSGIVING, right??? But, let’s work of having a spirit of thanksgiving even in the mist of trial. COVID-19 has severely hurt the economy. Many people have lost half of their investments in just a few weeks…the markets have fallen dramatically. People are out of work and worried how they will pay their bills. However, this viral illness will pass. We are still the richest nation on earth. The economy will likely recover in time. In China, the vast majority of cases have now recovered. The US now leads the world with the most cases of COVID-19. However, it will pass…eventually.

I could die from coronavirus. However, I could die when I travel in my car or I could have a massive heart attack tomorrow, but I am alive today! I have a roof over my head today. I have something to eat today. I need to NOT worry about tomorrow. I need to be thankful for today…even with all its problems. I need to focus on the positive. I feel better when I do that. I have more peace. Yes, I am writing this to you and to myself. I am responsible for lots of people…I am responsible for my employees, patients, children. They all count on me to go to work and perform at the highest level. However, if I do this with an attitude of thanksgiving, it brings us together and gives us peace along the way.

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