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?Morbid obesity on rise in India?

india Updated: Sep 02, 2006 11:27 IST
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WITH MORBID obesity on the rise, India may be facing a fat Tsunami, speculated Director of Bariatric Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, USA Dr Sunil Sharma.

He was interacting with media persons at a press meet held prior to the formation of a support group of 102 patients he has operated so far in the country in addition to 6,000 in the US and share his experience at hotel Shreemaya Celebrity today.

Dr Sharma said that there are several misconceptions about Bariatric surgery, which is the biggest major laproscopic surgery and is not clearly understood even by 90 per cent of doctors in the country.

Explaining morbid obesity he said it is defined as being 10 per cent of ideal body weight calculated through the Body Mass Index (BMI, which is weight in Kilograms divided by the square of individuals height in metres (Kg/m2). A BMI between 18.5 and 25 Kg.m2 is considered normal, upto 30 Kg/m2 is overweight, up to 40 obese and beyond is morbidly obese.

Morbid obesity is associated with development of life threatening complications such as stroke, sleep aponea, breathlessness, heart disease, high blood pressure, liver disease and large bowel cancer. Apart from these cholesterol gall bladder disease, asthma, osteoarthritis, type-I diabetes and reproductive problems are common in obese persons.

Commonly practiced weight reduction measures like dieting, exercise and medication are futile in treating clinically severe or morbid obesity cases as a very small number of such patients are able to reduce significant amounts of weight for a long term and can be completely and most effectively cured by gastric bypass surgery. Laproscopic surgical approach in treatment reduces post-operative pain and medication levels and promotes a faster recovery.

The surgery lasts only for a few hours, costs up to Rs 35 lakh in USA and only about Rs 3 lakh in India, the patient is discharged within a couple of days and the treatment rate has been highly successful at near about 100 per cent.

Gastric band surgery and gastric bypass surgery are used to cure morbid obesity and while the former is practiced frequently the latter is more effective. In the west 80 per cent of these patients are female, while in India the ratio is equally divided amongst male and female. A distinguishing factor is that while the body fat is equally divided amongst westerners it concentrates in the middle region most in Indians.

Aware of this fact and other genetically complexities he advocated that the morbid obesity ratio be brought down from above 40 to 35.5 for Indians and other Asians as their height was less and the use of salts, chillies and exposure to sun led to perspiration and other factors separating them from the westerners.

Dr Sharma had performed the first live bariatric surgery in India in the City on 32-year old MP Chouradiya weighing 163 Kg at Sri Aurobindo Institute of Medical Science (SAIMS) in November 2004. The surgery was performed in the presence of 200 top surgeons of the country. He weighs about 85 kgs today and is also free from other ailments.

The 102 patients operated upon by him would be present as a support group where they would give regular feedback and get diagnosis and advise from the doctor at a programme to be held at Vishesh diagnostic, Geeta Bhawan on September 3.

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