Sue Marshall blogs about diabetes for Desang

Weight Loss Surgery Can Lead To Psychological Distress | April 21, 2010

Gastric banding is an extreme solution at best, but for some people with obesity and diabetes it’s available.

People who have gastric band surgery to lose weight are at risk of low self-esteem, relationship problems and being dissatisfied with their body image, according to new research being presented at the Diabetes UK Annual Professional Conference (APC) today.

Researchers from the University of the West of England and Southmead Hospital, Bristol, followed 25 patients, aged from 30 to 58 years, and recorded their experience 12 months after receiving a post-laparoscopic gastric banding operation. 64 per cent of the participants had Type 2 diabetes.

Although the people who took part in the study reported significant health benefits such as improved blood glucose levels and lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels, they also found that living with the gastric band had a strong, negative psychological impact on their daily lives. The majority reported that having a gastric band was as hard as having to diet and that losing the opportunity to eat as a coping strategy left them struggling to deal with distressing life events.

Lead researcher Dr Andrew Johnson from Southmead Hospital said: “Our findings show that having a gastric band fitted should not be seen as the easy option when it comes to losing weight. This operation has a strong psychological impact as well as a physical one and we found that regular psychological support is needed to help people cope with the realities of having the device fitted.”

Simon O’Neill, Director of Care, Information and Advocacy Services at leading health charity Diabetes UK, said: “Losing weight not only reduces your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes but also significantly improves management in those who have the condition. We always advise people wanting to lose weight to try to do so by following a healthy, balanced diet high in fruit and vegetables and low in fat, sugar and salt combined with physical activity. Weight loss surgery can be a way of losing significant amounts of weight for people who are obese. However, surgery does have serious associated risks and should only be considered if sustained attempts to lose weight through diet and lifestyle changes have been unsuccessful. This new research also shows that there might be psychological consequences to having the procedure and patients should be made aware of these when considering the surgery.”

The NHS Information Centre recently released figures showing a 55 per cent increase in the number of people having weight-loss surgery, such as stomach stapling or having a gastric band fitted, between 2006/07 and 2008/09, from 1,950 to 4,220.

via: Weight Loss Surgery Can Lead To Psychological Distress

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