Obesity is a disease that affects an average of 6 out of 10 Costa Ricans. An obese person is extremely overweight, primarily due to high levels of body fat.
A study carried out in 2015 calculated that the percentage of overweight adults in Guanacaste’s urban areas was 28.2%. A quarter of that population is obese. The data from this report is the most up-to-date in the country since the Ministry of Health published the last nutrition survey more than 14 years ago.
A surgeon at the Hospital Metropolitano, Jessica Gutierrez Specht, pointed out that this situation should not go unnoticed because, with obesity, the risks of suffering from other diseases increase, such as:
- Breast and colon cancer
- Sleep apnea
- Cardiovascular problems
- Cholesterol problems
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Psychological disorders and depression
With the purpose of treating patients suffering from these conditions, the Hospital Metropolitano is innovating its services with the inauguration of the Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence. The program is being developed in the clinics located in Plaza Lincoln and in Lindora.
In the program, a multidisciplinary team involving areas of nutrition, psychology and surgery aim to provide comprehensive care to the patient.
“We don’t just see the obesity in a person; we see the person as a whole and surgery is only part of the process. That’s why we have an entire interdisciplinary team made up of a nutritionist, a psychologist, internal medicine doctors and specialists to support people in their preparation and recovery,” explained the specialist.
Who are candidates for this procedure?
There’s a stereotype that excess weight and obesity represent a danger when it’s already
excessive. According to Gutierrez, medical parameters contradict this erroneous idea since a person is considered obese once they have a body mass index greater than 35 and suffer from a disease such as high blood pressure, or high blood sugar and cholesterol.
Other candidates are people who have an index greater than 40 without necessarily suffering from any disease too.
In surgical procedures, the Center of Excellence offers two types of operations:
- The gastric sleeve: In this operation, the size of the stomach is reduced by 60–80%. The part removed contains a hormone called ghrelin that is related to feeling satiated. The absence of this hormone contributes to the person losing weight because he feels fuller.
- Gastric bypass: Here the stomach and the small intestine are operated on. The size of the stomach is decreased, and the intestine is moved to attach it to the stomach. Weight loss occurs by making the stomach smaller and because part of the intestine doesn’t absorb.
Both surgeries are very minimally invasive and contribute to generating the hormonal change that affects the patient’s metabolism. It’s an effective tool to allow people to maintain weight loss over the years, along with a transformation in their lifestyle.
In addition, it helps to improve or even eliminate some of the impacts such as diabetes, sleep apnea (obstruction of breathing when sleeping), polycystic ovary syndrome, infertility, etc.
According to the specialist, the center doesn’t try to hide the problem for a little while by putting a bandaid on it. Instead, they want to help people control their obesity for life so that they can have a better quality of life.
If you or someone close to you wants to improve their health and quality of life, the Hospital Metropolitano’s Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence has set up the phone number 6064-6552 and the email [email protected] for inquiries about the treatment.