Obesity surgery and older people and the elderly

There are guidelines in regard to a minimum age for surgery, which includes an upper age limit as well. This is usually set a 60 although there are exceptions. If you are considering treatment as a private patient, then you may find that this rule has been relaxed. This may also be the case if you are thinking of going abroad for obesity surgery.

Proving you meet the criteria and your general health is good then surgery is an option. Your age will be taken into account but it does not have to mean you are automatically excluded from surgery. Other factors such as your diet, lifestyle etc will also be taken into account.

Should older people have obesity surgery?

The answer to this is yes. If you have tried to lose weight but have failed to lose a desired amount or to maintain it then this is an option. The same rules apply here as they do for any other patient.

And, as long as you are prepared to commit to a healthy lifestyle which includes watching what you eat and taking some exercise then surgery can be considered. Due to your age there may be some special considerations such as the type and amount of exercise that you can do but on the whole, your age will not rule you out from having surgery.

Arguments for surgery

Obesity surgery has proved to be a safe and effective means of addressing chronic weight issues. It is performed by highly qualified and experienced surgeons who are fully aware of the risks as well as the benefits of these procedures.

Along with a healthy lifestyle such as a sensible diet and exercise it can dramatically change your life for the better.

As long as you have all the facts and information that you need about this type of surgery and are happy to proceed then it is a good option.

Arguments against surgery

Arguments against surgery include greater risks incurred during surgery and less efficient at controlling weight in general.

Older people are more prone to developing an age-related disease such as stroke or heart disease. They may have arthritis or respiratory problems. Some older people have limited mobility.

These are all risks factors with obesity surgery which can affect all ages but, appear to be more a risk for those patients aged 60 upwards.

The human body doesn’t always work so well in older people and various processes can take longer than in a younger person. So, it follows that recovery from surgery will take longer than that of a younger person. Surgery itself can be traumatic which places a strain on the body and this strain can be greater for an older patient.

At the end of the day, if an older patient presents themselves for surgery and fulfils the criteria then there is no reason why they shouldn’t have surgery. And, the surgery is just one aspect of a plan to address excess weight, which includes diet, supplementation and exercise.

Older people tend to be more disciplined in a great many things and this is one area in which they are more likely to stick to a regimented eating plan and exercise schedule.

What happens next?

If you are considering surgery then the first thing to do is to talk about this with your GP. Make sure that you have read through as much information as you need about obesity surgery and talk to other people who have undergone surgery or are knowledgeable about this area.

Whatever your age, this is a serious matter and one that needs a great deal of thought beforehand. Your family doctor is the first step who will then be able to refer you to an obesity surgeon. Whether you are looking to have this done through the NHS or as a private patient then you will still need to see your GP first of all.

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