As we continue to live longer and longer, our weight becomes a critical factor in determining just what kind of life we can expect to lead throughout our golden years. Gastric sleeve procedures not only help those of us over 60 years of age shed unwanted weight, but also boost our social and psychological interactions for a win-win-win in overall health. Physical improvements aside, weightloss operations may decrease our risk of comorbidities while simultaneously lessening the amount of money we have to pay in prescription drug costs.
Gastric sleeve surgery is the removal of approximately 80% of the stomach in order to reduce food intake and subsequently reverse obesity. One should note that obesity is most often associated with comorbidities such as type II diabetes, hypertension, stroke, cancer, heart disease, pulmonary embolisms, renal failure, gout and depression, among others.
This type of surgery is best for those with a BMI in excess of 40, and is an irreversible procedure that results in drastic weight loss. Ultimately, and as with all weight loss procedures, the risk of complications is to be taken seriously, especially since food intake and activity will need to be closely monitored alongside pain management by a trained medical professional.
Gastric sleeve procedures result in an immediate reduction in food and nutrient intake. This type of sudden weight loss has the potential to result in long-term nutrient deficiencies, which can lead to long-term bone loss or similar impairments such as anemia or osteoporosis. Working with a primary care provider to ensure a diet rich in iron may be enough to combat broken bones or feelings of fatigue, but it is wise to also enlist the help of a certified nutritionist.
Additional impairments include pain immediately following the surgery, as well as soreness from muscles not having had the proper exercise for years or decades. Immediate weight loss could also lead to overconfidence and misjudging one’s fitness levels. This could lead folks to increasing the amount they exercise or switch from pool-based workouts to weights, which should not be done until six months after surgery.
Finally, patients may experience mental anguish as they are giving up many types of food, which may have served as a source of stress relief. This may be what seniors want long-term in order to correct diabetes and similar ailments, but they may still face depressive episodes around feeling unsated and eating less comfort food.
Those who elect to undertake a gastric sleeve procedure may also experience the following impairments:
Medical alert devices for those recovering from sleeve gastrectomy operations should be strongly considered regardless of age.
As with any elective weight loss surgery, the excess weight loss can leave the body feeling more fatigued and at a greater risk of nutrient deficiency problems caused by anemia or bone loss. This means that falls could be an issue immediately after surgery, but less so once the senior is able to undertake a more robust exercise regime. Thus, a trial in-home medical alert system might be best for when the senior immediately leaves the hospital. This system could be upgraded to a more mobile option with fitness tracking as the patient increases in mobility.
Additionally, a long-range or GPS tracking option might be nice, as this alert system will not only give loved one's peace of mind about a newly-mobile senior, but also enable the user to track activities and socialize on platforms that encourage fitness tracking.
Gastric sleeve symptoms:
Of course, post-op surgery patients may elect to forgo medical tracking and monitoring, but for seniors, there are some key strategies to consider in order to make a full recovery.
Any post-surgery patient, regardless of age, should consider a means to monitor not only their recovery, but their progress toward a more fulfilling lifestyle. Seniors have been shown to experience a 50% reduction in cancer risks and see near-immediate reductions in the number of prescriptions they have to take after undergoing a gastric sleeve procedure. Medical alert devices, even if used only as a short-term trial, can encourage the post-op patient to slowly increase their mobility while still following their physician’s plan to combat potential complications.
Once seniors gain more confidence in their recovery and embarks on a more long-term, sustainable diet and exercise regime, medical alerts can double as activity trackers and fitness monitors. Patients are cautioned to pace themselves, of course, but online platforms may encourage more positive socializing through daily step competitions or similar activities.