Older Adults Fighting Obesity with Bariatric Surgery: Benefits, Side Effects and Outcomes
Marihart, Cindy Lou
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The prevalence of obesity has increased at a rapid rate indicating that it is one of the fastest growing diseases in the older adult population. Since life expectancy has increased, some obese older adults are living longer; their quality of life may be compromised. Obese older adults may be facing years of discomfort, lack of mobility, and chronic ill health. This study compares bariatric surgery outcomes across four adult age groups, specifically comparing changes in body mass index (BMI), surgery side effects, existing disease outcomes and quality of life concerns. Satisfaction with the surgery and weight loss is also reviewed as well as the patients overall feelings about their health and future. The research design for this study was a survey method, using a cross-sectional, self-reported questionnaire. The 534 respondents who were 18 months or more post- surgery were divided into four age groups in years: 18-49 (n=171), 50-59 (n=148), 60-69 (n=138) and ≥ 70 (n=77). All age groups lost weight after bariatric surgery and all groups experienced some weight regain. The older and oldest age groups were as successful at losing weight and keeping it off as the young and midlife age groups. There were significant improvements in eight chronic diseases across all age groups. Older and oldest age groups had similar or better outcomes compared to the young and midlife groups on most diseases and had fewer side effects. Satisfaction with the weight loss since surgery was reported by over 79% of all the age groups, and there were significant improvements in quality of life among all age groups. While all the age groups improved greatly, the young age group (ages 18 – 49) perceptions seemed less positive than the other three age groups which were all 50 years old and older. In conclusion bariatric surgery should be considered for disease management for older adults as much as it is for younger adults.